Brazil’s Parana state seeks 10-day safrinha corn planting extension

29 Jan 2020 | Tim Worledge

An agriculture lobby group in Brazil’s Parana state has applied to the country’s agriculture ministry for a 10-day planting extension for the state’s second corn crop to guarantee crop insurance, local media has reported.

The move came after the group, the Parana Cooperative Organisation (Ocepar), had seen a 20-day extension already knocked back by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The ministry acted amid fears about delays to the state’s soybean harvest, which left farmers fearful that they could miss the optimal corn planting window.

The status of insurance for the second corn crop will be crucial, as it is planted on the same fields after the country’s huge soybean harvest is complete.

Any delay is likely to expose the safrinha corn to tougher conditions, denting its potential.

“The soybean harvest is fully underway… the issue is regarding Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul, which encompass roughly 33% of the entire safrinha output,” one Brazil-based market source said, where delays in soybean planting and harvest due to hot and dry conditions have been acute.

“It has to do with insurance. In southwestern Parana, farmers are not allowed to plant corn after February 20. In western Parana, the final date is February 28,” Daniele Siqueira of Parana-based consultants Agrural told Agricensus.

“If farmers plant later than that, they have problems with insurance,” Siqueira said.

Ocepar had previously sought a 20-day extension to guarantee insurance coverage amid fears that the state’s bean crop would run late – with none of the safrinha corn harvest in the ground as of January 23, according to Agrural data.

That compares with a five-year average progress of 5.7% planted at this stage of the year, and last year’s extraordinary 18.7% planted at this stage of 2019 as Brazil’s key second corn crop cashed in on an early bean start and exemplary weather conditions.

The near-perfect conditions allowed Brazil to nationally rack up a record-breaking 101 million mt harvest.

However, even with such a huge crop at its back, Brazil’s corn sector has run dry, firing a surge in domestic prices as burgeoning ethanol and meat demand combined with a huge export slate to wring out the country’s crop.

That has framed a tempting environment for farmers as they look to cash in on expectations that next year’s Brazilian corn supply could remain tight even in the teeth of another huge crop but planting late could still slay yields and inflict heavy losses.

“It’s another strong signal that farmers do want to plant corn this year, despite the soybean delay,” Siqueira said.