Brazil will have a "vast supply" of corn for export, US
officials said, upgrading harvest forecasts – even as they cautioned that the
South American country will require bumper imports of US wheat.
The US Department of Agriculture's Brasilia bureau pegged
Brazil's corn crop at 72.5m tonnes, the second highest on record.
The forecast - above the official USDA figure upgraded to
71.0m tonnes two weeks ago - reflected "robust first-crop corn yields", with
ideas for second, or "safrinha", corn fading thanks to delays in harvesting the
soybean fields into which it is planted as a follow-on crop.
"Many Centre West farmers will opt out of second crop corn
production due to the soybean planting delays, which push back soybean harvests
dates and subsequently narrow or eliminate the planting window for second-crop
corn," the USDA bureau said.
In the major growing state of Mato Grosso, "despite the
intentions of many producers to plant second-crop corn, the delayed soybean
planting is anticipated to reduce the state's production by 6%".
Safrinha corn, planted typically in January or February, is
viewed as a risky crop, in having much of its growing period during the dry
'Not fit for milling'
The extra production means Brazil "will have a vast supply for
export", the bureau said, pegged shipments in 2012-13 at 18.0m tonnes, second
only to last season's record result, and 500,000 tonnes above the official USDA
However, the increased surplus in corn contrasts with a
raised estimate for the country's deficit in wheat, after a harvest which, at
4.3m tonnes, fell by one-quarter year on year, a bigger drop than Washington
has factored in.
Besides lower sowings, the crop was hurt by "adverse weather
events, ranging from late frosts and constant rains during the flowering and
grain filling stages" in the major producing state of Rio Grande do Sul.
"In many cases, the state's wheat no longer has the
necessary quality for domestic milling, which was also a consequence of the
Imports from North
With the crop in neighbouring Argentina, Brazil's usual
source of wheat imports, also undermined by a wet harvest and a drop in
sowings, buyers will increasingly look to Canada and the US for supplies.
The bureau forecast Brazil's overall imports from North
America at 2.5m-3.0m tonnes, including a "conservative" 1.5m tonnes from the
Brazil has not since the 1980s imported US wheat in such
The country is also believed unusually, to have sought
imports as far as Germany, a major European grower of hard wheat varieties used
in making bread.
'Regular rains helped
The comments come amid a growing focus on US wheat exports,
and a quest for signs that shipments will pick up after a disappointing start
to 2012-13, besides on South American crops, and growing expectations for
Brazilian output, contrasting dwindling hopes for Argentina.
Consultancy Safras & Mercado earlier this week raised
its estimate for Brazilian corn output to 70.7m tonnes, from the 69m tonnes, citing
improving yields in the south, while rival Agroconsult last week pegged the harvest
at 74.7m tonnes.
"Regular rains helped the corn crop in the critical
development phase," Agroconsult said.
The official crop bureau, Conab, earlier this month nudged its forecast higher to 72.2m tonnes.