SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — After a slow start, Brazil’s second-season corn harvest is beginning to accelerate as farmers in the center-south region of the country have harvested 70% of the crop, Reuters reported on Aug. 16, citing an estimate by agribusiness consultancy AgRural.

The harvesting of the second corn crop, which is planted after soybeans are harvested, still lags behind last year at this time when 77% had been harvested, according to AgRural.

The consultancy told Reuters that while farmers in Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais and São Paulo have made good progress recently, Parana is struggling due to high grain moisture. It also said quality was an issue in that region as frost is believed to have damaged up to 40% of the crop.

In July, AgRural cut its second corn production estimate to 51.6 million tonnes in the center south region, which is 26 million tonnes lower than its initial estimate made last October.

Still, Brazil is forecast to increase its corn production in 2021-22 to 118 million tonnes, up 35% from last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). An even larger increase is expected in exports as the USDA projects Brazil to ship 43 million tonnes, up 86% from 23 million in 2020-21.

If realized, Brazil would rank third in corn production in 2021-22 and second in exports behind only the United States.