Brazil corn exports face delay on spec concerns

20 Jun 2019 | Tim Worledge

Corn exports out of Brazil have been far slower than expected in June, as quality concerns prompted by wet weather means farmers are waiting for the new crop to blend with old crop to meet export specifications.

Line-up data for June suggests that Brazil’s ports have already shipped, are currently loading or expect to load 3.6 million mt of corn.

Yet while that is a threefold increase on the equivalent month in 2018, an early harvest meant exporters were expecting a far bigger flood of the grain on to the international market.

“People were counting on corn from June 1, but there were some harvest delays in some regions… so yes, it’s taking a while to get to the port,” one market source said, putting the current delay at “a week to ten days”.

The news is significant as Brazil is expected to produce a massive 100-million mt crop this year, offsetting some of the losses seen in the US due to heavy rains in key states cutting plantings and yield.

Brazilian corn had been expected to set the global price from July onwards, but the delays could see this slip to August.

For the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Parana, their climate supports two crops, with soybeans typically planted first followed by a second 'safrinha' corn crop once the bean harvest is complete.

That early start has combined with excellent weather to fire expectations that Brazil’s first and second corn crops will fuel exports of 33 million mt, according to USDA estimates.

“Our corn exports have been much slower than previously estimated for June,” Daniele Siqueira of Brazil-based agriculture consultancy Agrural told Agricensus.

“The first areas harvested in Mato Grosso have had many quality issues and farmers are waiting for more high-quality corn to make their blend and meet standards. It’s just a matter of time, but it seems that much of the corn that would be shipped in June will have to wait a bit longer,” Siqueira said.

Much of the delays and quality concerns are attributed to excess rains in April and May, with exemplary weather since then teeing up expectations of a huge second corn crop.