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BRAZIL CORN WATCH: Planting conditions likely to improve as more rains expected

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BRAZIL CORN WATCH: Planting conditions likely to improve as more rains expected

More rains are forecast for many key agricultural regions of Brazil in the coming days, raising hopes of favorable moisture and water levels for planting soybean and corn in 2021-22 following a drought year.

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

"Widespread rainfall is expected across Brazil this week, with the heaviest rainfall favoring southern and eastern areas," Maxar said in its daily weather report on Oct. 11. "Somewhat heavier showers should shift northward in Brazil during the 6-10-day period, boosting soil moisture in Mato Grosso."

Rains were seen across much of Brazil last week, which favored the advance of planting operations of corn and soybean crops in some regions and the beginning of sowing work in other regions.

Planting of first corn in 2021-22 reached 38% of the estimated area in Center-South Brazil as of Oct. 7 from 39% a year ago, a survey conducted by Brazil-based agriculture consultancy AgRural showed.

The pace of sowing corn has lost strength in the southern region due to excess moisture, but crops are likely to develop well, AgRural said.

AgRural's survey also showed that 10% of the estimated soybean area for Brazil was planted as of Oct. 7, from 3% in the same period last year.

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

The improved weather conditions resulted in a drop in corn prices in most regions monitored by Brazil-based Center for Advanced Studies on Applied Economics, known as CEPEA.

However, in the ports of Santos and Paranagua, despite the low liquidity, FOB corn prices ​​recovered towards the end of last week, supported by the strengthening of the dollar against the real, CEPEA said in a note.

Corn imports remain high

Corn imports into Brazil rose to 207,191 mt in the first six business days of October, surpassing 190,810 mt imported in the whole of October 2020, customs data showed.

Brazil already imported 1.63 million mt of corn during January-September, compared with 1.37 million mt in the whole of 2020, customs data showed.

Although Brazil is among the world's largest exporters of corn, 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.

Brazil's corn exports in the first six business days of October totaled 482,802 mt at a daily rate of 80,467 mt, against 250,190.6 mt/day in the whole of October 2020.

Brazil's corn output in 2020-21 dropped sharply due to drought and frost, which has reduced the quantity available for exports and increased imports.