Brazil's agriculture minister confirms big grain crop expectations

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias on Thursday confirmed that the government expects to harvest bumper soybean and corn crops in spite of planting and harvesting delays in 2020.

A drought late last year delayed sowing of Brazil’s soybeans, and excess rainfall disrupted harvesting in January. This delayed delivery of grain to trading companies and affected Brazil’s ability to export.

Speaking in an event to mark the beginning of the harvest in the northeastern state of Bahia, Dias reaffirmed that farmers will reap up to 133 million tonnes of soybeans in 2021 and potentially more than 103 million tonnes of corn.

“Our goal is to produce more each year and break records,” Dias said.

Brazil’s 2020/2021 soybean harvest had reached 1.9% of the cultivated area through Jan. 28, the slowest pace for this time in the season in 10 years.

Its second-corn crop, which is planted after soybeans are harvested, makes up the bulk of Brazil’s corn production. But because of delays affecting the soy crop, planting of second corn may have to be done outside the ideal window, potentially affecting yields. (Reporting by Ana Mano. Editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely.)

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