The Brazil soybean harvest is close to ending, while the second-corn crop is all but in the ground. Dr. Michael Cordonnier is an agronomist with Corn and Soybean Advisor, Incorporated. He says Brazil’s second-crop corn prospects look good so far.
“The Brazil soybeans are probably 75-80 percent harvested; Safriña corn is 99 percent planted. I think the weather has generally been pretty good for the Safriña corn thus far, although we still have a long way to go, and the market is pretty confident we’re going to get a pretty good-sized Safriña corn crop. It has pressured domestic corn prices in Brazil. Another thing pressuring the corn price is a strengthening Brazilian Real. It’s trading at about 4.7 to the dollar, which is the strongest has been in over a year. The market in South America, at least in Brazil, is pretty confident we could get a corn crop 25 million tons larger than last year.”
There is concern about the possibility of early frost before the Safriña corn crop matures. “It’s still got a long way to go. The concern is for frost, a potential frost before the crop is mature. La Niña is still out there, and it’s going stay there for a couple more months. And that generally results in earlier than normal frost. Any frost before the end of June would be important for the Safiña crop in Brazil, so let’s see what happens on that front.”
Argentina’s corn harvest is 10 percent complete, with the soybean harvest at less than five percent finished. Yields in Argentina continue to be disappointing.
South America’s farmers had been struggling with drought in recent months, but the weather is getting more favorable in key areas. “They’re getting some rain in southern Brazil. For sure, there are some dryness concerns and sort of East-Central Brazil, like in states like Goias and Minas Gerais. It remains to be seen if that’s going to be resolved or not. We’re coming into the dry season. The last summer rains usually occur early May, very early May, so we got about another month or two of the summer rainy season, but it’s getting better.”
Cordonnier talks about his current harvest projections. “I’ve got the Brazil soybeans at 123 million tons, with a narrower range, maybe upside 124, downside 120. We’re pretty close to being done here in the low 120s for Brazil soybeans. Argentina soybeans, I’m at 39 million. I’m a little bit on the low side, but I expect the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange to lower their soybean number as well. Now, for corn, I stayed at 112 million tons for Brazil corn. Let’s see what the weather does for the Safriña corn. In Argentina, I stayed at 49 million, and the Grain Exchange at Buenos Aires lowered theirs to 49 million last week. They finally came down to where I thought they should have been a long time ago. We’ll see going forwards, but my numbers are getting narrower all the time. The amount of changing, going forward here, is going to be small, I think, for both crops.”
The South American soybean harvest will be significantly lower than last year. “The soybeans in South America, I have them at 171.6 million tons. Last year was 198, so we’re down, what, 26 million tons from last year. Now, it’s not as bad for corn. For corn, I’m at 167 for South America. Last year was 143, so we’re up a good amount from last year, and that’s because last year was such a disaster for the Safriña corn. So, corn better than last year, soybeans worse than last year; kind of the reverse of what we had a year ago in South America.”
He says the soybean numbers will likely represent significant export opportunities for U.S. soybeans.