BRASILIA, BRAZIL — Brazil is forecast to harvest a record 118 million tonnes of corn in the 2021-22 marketing year, a nearly 40% increase over last year’s drought-damaged crop, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA estimates Brazil’s 2020-21 corn production at 85 million tonnes, which would be the country’s lowest output since 2017-18.

The key to the dramatic increase in output, the USDA said, is a rise in yield to 5.67 tonnes per hectare, which it attributed to “adequate investment in technology, average weather patterns and punctual planting of the safrinha corn.”

In the last decade, Brazil has seen corn yields improve by almost one-third, from 4.16 tonnes per hectare in 2010-11.

Corn planted area also is expected to expand by 5% year on year, the USDA said.

Corn exports are forecast to surge in 2021-22 as well, to a record 43 million tonnes, up from a dismal 19 million tonnes in the previous marketing year.

“This is based on an expectation of expanded production, as well as the likelihood that the Brazil real will remain relatively weak, though the economic recovery began to gain traction this year,” the USDA said.