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May 13, 2019

Brazilian Farmers Starting to Plant their Winter Wheat

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Brazilian farmers have started to plant their winter wheat. The vast majority of Brazil's wheat is planted in the two southern states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, but there is also some wheat planted in central Brazil as well.

The number one wheat producing state in Brazil is Parana and farmers have planted 26% of their 2019 wheat crop. Rio Grande do Sul is the second largest what producing state and wheat planting might get started in the state as soon as later this week. These two states combined produce more than 90% of Brazil's wheat.

There is also some wheat planted in the two central Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Goias. The wheat grown in central Brazil is both dryland and irrigated. Brazilian farmers are more interested in growing wheat this year and in the state of Minas Gerais, they are expected to plant 90-100,000 hectares of wheat. The demand has been strong enough that some seed suppliers are actually running out of seed.

Approximately 85% of the wheat planted in Minas Gerais is dryland wheat planted in March and that wheat is now setting heads.

Goias is the other state in central Brazil where wheat is planted. Farmers in the state are expected to plant approximately 30,000 hectares of wheat. Dryland wheat in Goias is planted as early as February in order to take advantage of the last summer rains. This early planted wheat will be harvested in June/July, which will be the first wheat harvested in Brazil and as a result, it should command good prices. Irrigated wheat is planted later, generally during the first half of May.

Dryland wheat in central Brazil can yield in the range of 50 sacks per hectare (44 bu/ac) and it is generally of good quality due to the dry weather at harvest. The yield of irrigated wheat is in the range of 100 sacks per hectare (89 bu/ac), but it can be as high as 130 sacks per hectare (115 bu/ac).

Safrinha wheat acreage is small compared to safrinha corn acreage, but one of the benefits of safrinha wheat production is that it breaks up the pest and disease cycles that can be associated with continuous soybean or corn production. The wheat residue also helps to protect the soil during the dry season. Wheat can be planted later than safrinha corn and it requires less rainfall during its critical reproductive period than corn.