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Brazil farmers plant, sell corn at record pace, analyst says

Agriculture.com Staff 01/29/2007 @ 8:01am

CUIABA, Mato Grosso -- With corn prices pushing to their highest point in 10 years, Brazil's growing area of Mato Grosso could have a record double-crop corn production, said Fernando Muraro, a market analyst with AgRural, located in Curitiba.

If realized, that record corn crop size would be 13.0 million metric tons, Muraro said. Brazil's total 2006-2007 corn production is estimated at 45.6 million tons, up 12% from last year. Double-crop corn is boosting the overall size of Brazil's crop.

As their first crop, Mato Grosso producers plant soybeans in October, then immediately plant corn as a second-crop.

Not only are Mato Grosso producers planting more corn, they are selling it at record pace, Muraro said.

"Right now, 1.5 million metric tons of their 2007 corn crop is already sold, before planting it. That's a record for selling forward on cash-contracts for corn," Muraro said. "That puts a lot more pressure on producers to plant even more corn."

With a tough growing season for their first-crop soybeans due to drought, producers here are relieved the world corn price is going up from increased ethanol demand.

Meanwhile, as of this week, Mato Grosso producers have 10% of their soybean crop harvested, just one percent overall in Brazil.

Of those soybeans, 70% have already been sold. "We just have 30% of Mato Grosso soybeans to sell for this year," Muraro said.

Because Brazil producers have suffered from low production in the last few years, plus a farm crisis, they have been forced to sell quickly.

Muraro agreed Brazil's 2006-2007 soybean planting is 10% lower than last year, but production will be a record between 56 and 57 million metric tons.

"We have a good crop, I know the U.S. market traders think it will be less, but that's only the market," Muraro said.

It's interesting to note that most of the land included in Brazil's 10% reduction in area planted has been left idle in 2007. By increasing double-crop acres, Brazil is producing more corn and soybeans on fewer acres.

Meanwhile, agronomically, an increase in double-crop corn could threaten the sustainability of Brazil's soybean yields. Corn removes a lot of phosphorus, and unless producers invest in replacing that nutrient, soybean yields could suffer, one agronomist said.

CUIABA, Mato Grosso -- With corn prices pushing to their highest point in 10 years, Brazil's growing area of Mato Grosso could have a record double-crop corn production, said Fernando Muraro, a market analyst with AgRural, located in Curitiba.

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