Sep. 1, 2017
The 2017 U.S. cotton crop has been severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey and the reduced cotton production has resulted in higher cotton prices. Brazilian cotton producers have noticed the improving prices and are planning to increase their cotton acreage in 2016/17. According to Alexander Mendonca de Barros, an economist from MBAgro, Brazil's cotton acreage is expected to increase 11% in 2017/18. His projection was issued at the 7th Brazilian Fertilizer Congress held recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Mr. Barros feels that most of the increased acreage will be in the western part of the state of Bahia, which is Brazil's second largest cotton producing state after Mato Grosso. In Bahia, cotton must compete with soybeans and corn for acreage, and with the recent price increases, cotton is becoming more competitive.
The largest cotton producing state in Brazil is Mato Grosso and the vast majority of cotton in that state is planted as a second crop after the first crop of soybeans are harvested. Safrinha cotton competes with safrinha corn in the state for acreage. Since corn prices are low and cotton prices are improving, cotton could be a little more competitive with corn. Safrinha cotton is planted in Mato Grosso generally during the month of January. Farmers hesitate to plant cotton after February 1st for fear of the crop running out of water before it matures.
For the 2017/18 Brazilian soybean crop, he is projecting a 1% increase in soybean acreage from 33.8 million hectares in 2016/17 to 34.3 million hectares in 2017/18.
For the 2017/18 Brazilian corn crop, he is projecting of decline of 8% in the full-season corn acreage from 5.5 million hectares in 2016/17 to 5.1 million hectares in 2017/18. He feels that Brazilian farmers will switch some of their full-season corn to safrinha production. For the safrinha corn acreage, he indicated a decline of 3% from 11.8 million hectares last year to 11.4 million hectares in 2017/18.
Mr. Barros is projection that Brazilian farmers will consume 34 million tons of fertilizers in 2017, which is slightly below the 34.6 million tons estimated by the National Association of Fertilizer Distributors (ANDA).