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BRAZIL CORN WATCH: Planting reaches 24.2%, imports jump in September

First corn planting for the 2021-22 season in Brazil picked up pace over Sept. 27 - Oct. 2, reaching 24.2% as of Oct.2 as compared to 20.6% around the same point last year, data released by the country's national agricultural agency CONAB showed.

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Brazil's 2021-22 corn crop will be marketed during February 2022-January 2023.

Over the weekend, rains were seen in Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, northeastern Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, southern Goias, and southern Minas Gerais, according to Brazil's National Institute of Meteorology weather update.

Rain is expected to continue in southern Brazil this week, leading to further improvements in Parana, which is the second-largest corn producing region in Brazil.

Despite the recent rains, dryness is still a concern in many regions of Brazil, which is delaying soybean planting.

The timely planting of soybean is crucial since second corn is planted after harvesting soybean. Any delay in the oilseed crop planting could force farmers to plant corn crops outside the ideal planting window, which could negatively impact corn yields.

The first corn crop in Brazil is planted during September-December and harvested in February-May, while the second crop is planted in February-March and harvested in June-July.

The first corn crop accounted for 25% of Brazil's total corn production in 2019-20.

Although rainfall will remain relatively limited this week, rain is expected to increase in northern and central Brazil during the 6-10 day period, which should ease dryness and favor soybean germination, Maxar said in its weather report on Oct. 4.

Corn imports jumps

Corn imports into Brazil surged to 407,379 mt in September, up 176.5% year on year, as production in 2020-21 dropped sharply due to drought, customs data showed.

Brazil has already imported nearly 1.6 million mt of corn during January-September, compared with 1.37 million mt in the whole of 2020, customs data showed.

Meanwhile, Brazil's corn exports fell 55.2% year on year to 2.855 million mt in September.

Although Brazil is among the major corn exporters in the world, the southern states often import from Paraguay and Argentina as it is cheaper than transporting corn from the Midwest region of Brazil where the bulk of the corn crop is grown.

The animal protein industry, a major consumer of corn feed, is concentrated in southern Brazil.