Early Safrinha Corn Yields Disappoint in Parana, Brazil

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The Department of Rural Economics for the state of Parana (Deral) reported earlier this week that the safrinha corn in the state was 5% pollinating, 63% filling grain, 32% mature, and 1% harvested. The corn was rated 5% poor, 16% average, and 79% good.

Technicians from Deral report that early corn yields in western and southern Parana are less than expected due to a heavy infestation of corn leafhoppers. The insects spread a virus that subsequently weakens the corn plant and leads to lower yields. The insect is relatively new to the corn fields of Brazil and farmers and researchers are still learning how to control the insect. Some farmers have applied as many as a dozen insecticide applications trying to control the insect.

As an illustration, farmers in the municipality of Guaira in northwestern Parana are reporting early corn yields in the range of 35 to 65 sacks per hectare (33 to 62 bu/ac), which is down as much as 60% from initial expectations. According to the president of the Rural Union of Guaira/PR, the corn that is being harvested suffered from dry weather early in the growing season and then a heavy infestation of corn leafhoppers.

Farmers are harvesting the corn at higher moisture because they want to harvest the corn before the stalks start to break down due to the virus passed along by the corn leaf hoppers. Unfortunately, prices being paid to the farmers are being discounted when they deliver the high moisture corn to the local co-op or grain elevator.

The current local price for corn in Guaira is R$ 82.00 per sack, or approximately $7.50 per bushel.

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