BRASILIA, BRAZIL — Increased corn production in Brazil is forecast for this and the next marketing year, according to an Oct. 2 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report noted that the increase is based on a large expansion of planted area, especially in the Center-West state of Mato Grosso, as well as good yields for the safrinha corn crop.

The USDA increased its estimate of 2019-20 planted area by 50,000 hectares to 18.5 million hectares.

“This reflects expansion of 1 million hectares, or 5.7%, over the previous year, and comes in response to firm prices due to exports well above the five-year average, and strong domestic demand from the poultry and livestock sectors, as well as the growing corn ethanol business,” the USDA said.

The soaring prices come after record-breaking 2019 exports depleted stocks and the Brazilian real plummeted in value against the US dollar in 2020, the report said.

The USDA raised its estimate for the 2019-20 crop (March 2020-February 2021) by 3 million tonnes, to 103 million tonnes. It also increased its corn output forecast for the 2020-21 crop (March 2021-February 2022) to 107 million tonnes.

Brazil was the world’s third largest exporter in 2020-21, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, which estimates the country’s exports at 34 million tonnes.