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Q&A: Brazilian farmer to halve corn acres

Luis Vieira 11/11/2013 @ 1:40pm Agricultural freelance reporter from Porto Alegre, Brazil. Editor of AgroSouth-news.com

Nelson Paludo, a farmer from Toledo, in the west of Paraná, revealed in an interview to Agriculture.com that corn is not on his plans for the current crop season. In fact, he and most producers of his region, intend to reduce corn production in the second crop crop, or safrinha, which comes after soybeans are harvested.

Mr. Paludo, who is the president of the local union of farmers, did not blame difficulties of production, but only undervalued corn prices and Brazil's logistics problems for the reduced area. Adding to transportation, the farmer from Paraná complained about the caterpillar Helicoverpa Armigera, also known as corn earworm in the US, have affected and worried soybean growers from that region in this season. 

Agriculture.com - What are the biggest challenges that farmers from Toledo (Paraná) are facing this season?

Nelson Paludo - Everything is going really well for soybeans. Everything going as it needs. We had attacks from this new caterpillar (Heliceverpa Armigera), but so far has been under control. It's the first year that we had the earworm in our region. The crop control has been huge. 

The real big problem for us has been the transportation. The tolls are very expensive, the ports are inefficient, and the ports are a debacle. All of these things make our costs higher and we are also paying more for inputs. Everything that is hurting our profitability is happening out of the farm's gates.

Agriculture.com - What will happen in the next crop season in your region?

Paludo - In the next crop season, the soybean planting will increase a lot. I don't know how much. And for sure producers will shrink their corn area. Most farmers here are not planting corn in the regular season and will diminish the corn in the second crop. The reason is that there is no forecast that corn will improve its price and soybeans have a better value. There already are several good contracts for soybeans.

Agriculture.com - What did you plant this season?

Paludo - I only planted soybeans. This crop is short. The thing that I will need is that weather has to continue to be good until January. I planted nearly 500 acres and sometimes harvest up to 130 bushels per hectare.

Agriculture.com - And what are your plans with regards to corn? Do you like to plant corn? Is it hard to cultivate? 

Paludo - I don't intend to plant at the first crop. The strong thing is safrinha, but I need to shrink the area. Last year, I planted 495 acres, but I will cut it at least in half. The last time, I harvested 6,300 bushels per hectare. It is an easy crop to grow, the handling is not complicated, but it does bring us enough income. 

Agriculture.com - How do you see US farmers? Do you see them as big competitors?

Paludo - I had been to some fields in the US. We learn a lot with the Americans, who are more professional. It is not a matter of competition. I think there will always will be markets for everybody. There is always space for selling grains. What I see is that Americans have a lot more certainty to produce. Insurance indemnifies American farmers when the times are bad. 

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