Brazil trimmed its corn production estimate, in the latest setback to world supply hopes, which are forecast to suffer a further reduction on Friday with a downgrade to the US crop forecast.
Conab, Brazil’s official ag bureau, pegged domestic corn production for 2021-22 at 114.7m tonnes – a figure which, while still a record high, was 971,000 tonnes below the estimate made last month.
The revision came hours after Strategie Grains, the respected French-based consultancy, lowered by 10.0m tonnes, to a 15-year low, its forecast for this year’s European Union corn harvest.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture is expected on Friday, in its monthly benchmark Wasde report, to reduce its harvest estimate by 113m bushels (2.9m tonnes) to 14.39bn bushels, thanks to pressure from dry Midwest weather.
“The climatic risks persist, with the water deficit in western Europe, impacting future corn and sunflower crops, combined with a water deficit in the US,” said Agritel.
‘Attack of the leafhopper’
Conab’s downgrade reflected a 1.0m-tonne cut to 87.41m tonnes in the estimate for Brazil’s second, or safrinha, corn crop, which is seeded early in the calendar year, and is currently being harvested.
Prospects had deteriorated in particular in Parana, the second-ranked safrinha corn-growing state, where crop had suffered a triple-whammy of early-year drought, May-June frosts and, most lately, losses to insect pests.
“An important factor was the effect caused by the attack of the leafhopper, Dalbulus maidis, and consequent stunting of the corn plants,” Conab said.
“All these factors together led to a reduction in the average state yield of the crop,” pegged at 5.48 tonnes per hectare, down from an estimate last month of 5.81 tonnes per hectare.
By contrast, Conab nudged higher by 130,000 tonnes to 9.16m tonnes its forecast for Brazil’s late-year wheat harvest, thanks to improved expectations for southern states, including Parana.
Most of the upgrade attributed, however, to Rio Grande do Sul, where ample rains had left most crops in “good” condition, although with potential for the extent of moisture to prevent some of the last sowings being completed.
In Santa Catarina, where seedings are 99.3% complete, “crop condition is classified as 100% good, influenced by favourable weather conditions”.
Conab restated expectations for Brazilian wheat imports of 2.50m tonnes in 2022-23 despite the production upgrade, seeing the production increase as increasing a stockbuild over the season.
For corn, Conab restated a forecast for shipments of 37.5m tonnes, while cutting its estimate for carryout inventories.