Sep 28, 2023

Some Farmers in Mato Grosso Rethinking Their Safrinha Crop Plans

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

In recent years, the trend in Mato Grosso has been to plant early maturity soybeans as early as possible to allow enough time for a second crop of safrinha corn. With domestic corn prices in Brazil now at break-even or lower levels, some farmers are rethinking their safrinha cropping pattern.

Instead of sacrificing some potential soybean yields in order to have enough time to plant safrinha corn, they are focusing more on ensuring robust soybean yields by waiting to plant soybeans when there is adequate soil moisture and planting more longer maturity soybeans that have a higher yield potential.

Planting soybeans as early as possible before the summer rains have established runs the risk of less-than-ideal plant populations or even the need to replant the soybeans.

Safrinha corn yields are highly dependent on when the corn is planted. If it is planted after the ideal planting window closes at the end of February, there is an increased risk of lower yields. That risk may be even higher this growing season with El Nino that can result in an early end to the summer rainy season.

Instead of planting safrinha corn, some farmers may plant crops with a shorter growth cycle and more tolerant to dry conditions such as grain sorghum, edible beans, sesame, or even a cover crop in preparation for the 2024/25 soybean crop.

This is a change in thinking on the part of farmers in Mato Grosso and central Brazil and it is being driven by low domestic corn prices. Conab recently estimated that Brazilian farmers will reduce their 2023/24 safrinha corn acreage by 4.8% to 16.35 million hectares (40.3 million acres). Safrinha corn represents approximately three-quarters of Brazil's total corn production.