Brazil’s corn and soybeans: a look inside the market

From a faster planting season to a high export pace, what’s the latest news in the South American market?

As we reach the end of October, we take a look at the soybean and corn markets in Brazil to give you an insight into planting percentages and export rates.

Soybean planting and summer corn sowing

Brazil’s soybean planting reached 38% complete as of October 21, marking the second-fastest planting pace of the time series, just behind the 2018/19 marketing year, local consultancy Agrural showed Monday October 25.

According to the agency, 6.2 million hectares were sown over the week with works 15 percentage points ahead on the previous year.

“With good soil moisture levels, farmers took advantage of dry periods to boost field works,” Agrural said.

“Planting is approaching the final stages in the states of Mato Grosso and Paraná and works have gathered steam in other states,” the consultancy added.

Despite good general planting conditions, there are still dry areas in the states of Mato Grosso, Goiás and Minas Gerais “that deserve some attention,” Agrural caveated.

Rival consultancy Safras & Mercados (S&M), that pegged Brazil’s soybean planting at 36% on October 22, showed sown areas at 69% in Mato Grosso, 45% in Mato Grosso do Sul, 41% in Paraná, and between 35% and 37% in the states of Goiás, São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

In all other states, less than 10% of the expected area had been planted, S&M showed.

Meanwhile, summer corn planting in the centre-south of Brazil was 53% complete as of October 21 with sowing works up 8 points on the week and 7 points on the year, Agrural’s estimates showed.

“With southern states in the final phases of planting, works are gaining momentum in other states as moisture levels improve,” Agrural said.

Mato Grosso and the use of fertilizer in Brazil

The soybean and corn association of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso Aprosoja-MT has told its associates to rationalize the usage of fertilizers for the 2022/23 crop amid skyrocketing prices in a note released on Thursday October 21.

“Look for agronomic advice, consider the level of nutrients in the soil and, if possible, plant without fertilizers,” the association’s president Fernando Cadore told farmers.

The note came out amid skyrocketing fertilizers prices as global supply has been constrained by multiple factors this year.

By and large, Mato Grosso’s farmers have already acquired fertilizers for the 2021-2022 crop, but concerns are mounting regarding input costs and the financial viability of the 2022-2023 crop.

“The price of fertilizers more than doubled… [using fertilizers] is an individual choice of farmers, but they cannot pay these prices,” Cadore said.
The price of machinery, fuel and other inputs has also risen steeply, Aprosoja-MT noted, stressing that “this is not the time to buy machinery or raise debts.”

Brazil’s soybean exports jump 50% year-on-year

Brazil’s soybean exports reached 2.7 million tonnes in the first four weeks of October with the pace of shipments 50% higher on the year while corn exports remained subdued but gained some steam over the week, official customs data showed Monday.

Average soybean shipments per working day edged lower on the week but remained 50% higher on the year at 182,279 tonnes.

Looking ahead, the country is expected to export 3.4 million tonnes in October, 1 million tonnes higher on the year, line-up data from shipping agency Cargonave showed.

The country’s grain exporters association Anec outlined a more cautious scenario as it caveated that it “is considering the possibility of shorter cargo loading,” setting its monthly export estimate in a range between 3.0 and 3.4 million tonnes.

Corn picks up

Meanwhile, Brazil’s corn exports in the first four weeks of October remained largely subdued on the year with daily shipments down 63%.

However, daily exports lifted 34% on the week to 93,365 tonnes.

The uptick in corn exports came as domestic corn availability has proven to be larger than previously expected, with domestic prices falling back towards export parity levels.

That said, Brazil’s October corn exports will remain way below 2020’s levels when the country exported 5.0 million tonnes of the grain.

Cargonave’s line-up data also suggested that the country will ship 2.1 million tonnes of corn in October while Anec has set its estimate range between 2.0 and 2.3 million tonnes.

The pace of corn imports continued to edge slightly lower over the week with daily imports down to 29,107 tonnes but total volumes imported in October so far reached 436,607 tonnes as daily shipments remained 205% higher on the year.

This article, by Eduardo Tinti, combines three recent stories originally published to from Monday October 25.

Stay up to date with the critical forces influencing price and market movements across the agriculture market. We look forward to regularly sharing more insights, trends and trade news with you on the Fastmarkets oilseeds and grains insights hub.

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