Brazil will harvest 88.6 million mt of corn in the 2017-18 season, federal government crop agency Conab said Tuesday in a monthly report, up from 87.28 million mt in its March report.
The 2016-17 harvest was 97.84 million mt.
Brazil produces two corn crops per year. The first crop is planted in summer at the same time as the soybean crop, while the second, or winter, crop is planted in the same areas as soybeans immediately after the oilseeds are harvested.
For both summer and winter crops, Conab raised the estimated planted area, compared with the previous report.
Conab increased its projection for the summer corn crop to 25.6 million mt, from 25.12 million mt in March. It was 30.46 million mt in 2016-17.
For the second corn crop, for which planting has been recently finished, Conab bumped the projected production to 63.02 million mt, from 62.16 million mt in March due to a planted area 1.4% larger than expected. Brazil produced 67.38 million mt of corn in the second crop in 2016-17.
Conab said farmers decided to extend the planting period, and thus the sowed area, as corn prices recently improved in the domestic market.
The agency added that most of the winter crop in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest grains producer, is in the vegetative development stage. Harvest is expected to take place mostly during June and July.
“Lower investments in high-quality seeds and in fertilizer may cap yield potential for winter corn, but the weather forecast is good, showing regular rain in coming weeks, specially in April,” said the report.
Brazil corn exports in the current marketing year (February 2018-January 2019), which are mostly fueled by the winter crop, were raised to a record of 32 million mt, up from 30 million mt in the previous report and 30.84 million mt in the previous season.
The 2 million-mt increase was boosted by higher production and a cut in projected ending stocks on January 31, 2019.
Brazil is the world’s second largest corn exporter, behind only the US.