Safrinha takes agribusiness to file in Brazil

Safrinha takes agribusiness to file in Brazil

For this, it had considerable help from the so-called “safrinha” of corn.

Brazil will break another record in agribusiness this year, with the biggest grain harvest in history. For this, it had considerable help from the so-called “safrinha” of corn. Previously considered a species of “xepa”, just to keep the soil covered, the safrinha gained importance as production became more sophisticated and technology added.

Squeezed between the summer harvest and the winter off-season, the off-season should reach 87.4 million tons, 44% more than the previous one, according to the National Supply Company (Conab).

This will be the biggest harvest in the historical series of the off-season which, for several years, became a “safrão”, surpassing in area and production volume the corn harvest in the summer.

Analysts point out that the turn of the “xepa” opens up prospects for Brazil to double corn production in the coming years and get closer to the world leaders United States and China. In addition to having a field to increase grain production, which is the basis of Brazilian animal protein production, the country started using corn to make ethanol.

Brazil will produce 114.7 million tons of corn this year, up 31.7% over the previous crop. With this, it will help to compose another record grain harvest, with 271.4 million tons, an increase of 6.2%, or 15.9 million tons compared to the previous harvest. The result for corn could have been even better, had it not been for the 15.3% drop in production in the Southern Region in the first harvest due to lack of rain.

DIFFERENTIAL

“We have a lot of room to grow, both in terms of area and productivity”, says the CEO of Agroconsult, André Pessoa. He recalls that it took Brazil 15 years to go from 100 million tons of grain to 200 million, but reaching 300 million tons will take less time. “It just didn’t happen this year because there was no rain in some regions, like Rio Grande do Sul.”

Pessoa highlights the growth of the second corn crop as a Brazilian agricultural differential, as this planting already represents almost 50% of the area of ​​traditional cultivation of all grains in the summer. This year alone, the second crop of corn occupied an additional 1.64 million hectares, thanks to a scenario favored by good prices in domestic and foreign markets, and the anticipated soybean calendar.

The earlier the soybean harvest, the better the “window” for planting second-season corn, preventing the crop from advancing in the coldest and driest period of the year. “With the favorable calendar, most of the planting was concentrated in January and February, the ideal period”, says Pessoa.

TECHNOLOGY

During the decades in which he was part of the extension network of the São Paulo State Department of Agriculture, agronomist Vandir Daniel da Silva followed the transformation of the second crop of corn in the state.

“Before, the producer planted wheat in the winter and corn in the summer. With the arrival of soybeans, he began to invest in corn cultivation in the off-season to plant soybeans in the summer,” says Silva.

According to him, in the beginning it was a low-tech crop, but over time, the producer realized that, by making more of the corn fertilization, he would achieve greater gains in the next soybean. “Today, second-crop corn is high-tech.”

Now retired, Silva applies his knowledge to his own farming. He planted safrinha corn at the end of December, in Itapeva (SP), and achieved a productivity close to 6 thousand kg per hectare (ha). The result is higher than the state average of 5,200 kg/ha, but it could be better. “There was no rain between May and June, a critical phase for the crop, and we had the attack of the corn spittlebug”, he says.

In Mato Grosso, the largest national corn producer, conditions were favorable for the off-season, says producer Egidio Batista, from Primavera do Leste.

He planted in January and is ending the harvest with an average of 6,100 kg/ha. “As the rains came at the right time, we used a good technological package, with high-yield seeds. It was one of the best corn crops we have ever harvested,” he says. The State should produce 21 million tons this year.

APEX

In Capão Bonito (SP), producer Marcos Alberto de Souza achieved an average of 132 bags per hectare – 7,920 kg -, one of the highest in the country. “In the 20 years I’ve been doing the off-season corn, this was the best harvest I’ve had.”

Souza planted it after the soybean harvest, at the most favorable time, between January 20 and February 22. He is part of the Capão Bonito Agricultural Cooperative, whose members have cultivated 15,000 hectares of off-season corn this year.

“We had an average of 103 bags per hectare, because the rains came at the right time. Here we call it an extended harvest, as the corn enters the sequence of the soybean harvest to avoid the frosts of the beginning of winter”, says the manager of the cooperative, Luiz Carlos Mariotto.

The second largest national corn producer, with 17.6 million tons in this crop – 14.6 million in the second crop -, Paraná has been breaking productivity records, according to Edmar Wardensk Gervásio, from the Department of Rural Economy (Deral) of the Secretary of Agriculture and Supply. “The second crop of the 2021/2022 period in Paraná is a record in planted area, with 2.7 million hectares, 8% greater than the previous crop”, he says. “The average productivity is 5,400 kg per hectare, but we have producers with an average of 6,000 kg.”

According to Gervásio, corn production lost ground to soybeans in the first harvest and, as a result, the second harvest gained ground, competing with wheat. He says that the second crop has generated greater income for the producer. For a production cost of BRL 46.73, a bag of corn is quoted at BRL 80.

In Mato Grosso do Sul, the harvest of safrinha corn is advancing with an average productivity of 78 bags per hectare, which should guarantee 9.34 million tons for national production. The problem is that there is no storage. “Corn is coming, but we still have soybeans in the silos. Bags (big sacks) are being used to store this crop”, explains the Secretary for the Environment, Economic Development, Production and Agriculture, Jaime Verruck.

ETHANOL

Ethanol production, a new market for domestic corn consumption, should consume 10.3 million tons of the grain this year in Brazil, up 30% from 2021, according to the National Corn Ethanol Union (Unem).

According to the executive president of Unem, Guilherme Nolasco, the corn ethanol sector is expanding. “Corn ethanol has established itself as an alternative for verticalizing corn production, adding value and, since the last harvest, as an important equalizer in the fuel market.”

Today, 17 corn ethanol plants are in operation, 10 in Mato Grosso, 5 in Goiás, 1 in Paraná and 1 in São Paulo. Since last year, plants that already operate in the market have been announcing expansion of their units. In addition, at least two new units should start operating this year, one of them in Dourados (MS).

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