BRAZIL – Brazil raised its hopes for both corn and soybean crops to record highs, citing factors ranging from improved seed to benign weather – although rains in the key state of Mato Grosso have caused some crop damage.

Conab, Brazil’s official crop bureau, lifted its forecast for domestic soybean production in 2016-17 by 2.03m tonnes to a record 107.6m tonnes, flagging in particular improved prospects in southern states, helped by improved seed quality and agronomic practices.

For Rio Grande do Sul, Conab hiked its crop estimate by 990,000 tonnes, to 16.4m tonnes, citing “excellent” quality seed, and success by growers in combatting fungal diseases, which had threatened to spread amid humid weather.

And for Parana, the output forecast was lifted by some 650,000 tonnes to 18.2m tonnes, with Conab citing promising results from the newly started harvest, “favourable” weather, and the increased usage of genetically modified seed.

Rain damage

However, for Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top soybean-producing state, the bureau trimmed its output forecast by some 400,000 tonnes, to 30.0m tonnes, flagging “heavy rains” which compromised crop potential besides slowing the harvest.

Conab flagged reports in “virtually all parts of the state” of crops damaged by the rainfall, or with moisture levels above key benchmark levels.

The bureau’s revised soybean harvest forecast, while a touch above those from Agrural and Safras, remained below those from commentators such as brokerage FC Stone, which has pegged the crop at 109.1m tonnes, and Celeres, which has a 109.6m-tonne forecast.

Upgrade to record high

Nonetheless, the moisture in Mato Grosso has underpinned hopes for Brazil’s output of second-crop, or safrinha, corn, which is planted after the soybean harvest, and of which the state is also the country’s top grower.

With drier conditions later last month allowing growers to accelerate sowings above previous expectations, and exploit soil moisture, Conab raised by some 450,000 tonnes to 23.4m tonnes its forecast for Mato Grosso’s safrinha corn harvest.

Factoring in increased hopes too for northern states, including the spread of safrinha corn production onto 258,000 hectares in Pará, Brazil’s overall safrinha harvest was upgraded by 1.1m tonnes, to 59.7m tonnes.

Including so-called main-crop corn, being harvested now, Brazil’s total output of the grain was pegged at 89.0m tonnes – an upgrade of 1.6m tonnes, and taking the figure to a record high.

March 10, 2016;–10522.html