Brazil Corn Crop Seen Short

Brazilian Agriculture Ministry officials were set to meet Tuesday, Jan. 15, to discuss the consequences of lower-than-expected main-crop corn production due to drought-induced crop losses in the southern part of the country, OsterDowJones News Service reported.

Government officials are concerned that a shortage of corn may impede the expansion of Brazilian meat exports and are worried about possible legal battles if Brazil increases imports of genetically modified corn from Argentina and the U.S., ODJ news reports.

According to information obtained by the Agriculture Ministry, almost two months of dry weather may have already cut Rio Grande do Sul’s main crop output by 15%-25% from the 5.4 million metric tons estimated in December. Meanwhile, the corn crop in neighboring Santa Catarina state now is seen 30% lower than the 3.4 million tons forecast last month.

Another reason officials are concerned about domestic corn supplies is that they are worried that Brazilian cooperatives may choose to export more corn than was earlier forecast.

According to ODJ News, Benedito Rosa de Espirito Santo, the Agriculture Ministry's ag policy secretary, warned that Brazil's export sales could possibly reach 4 million metric tons in 2002-03, not the 2 million tons most analysts are predicting. USDA currently pegs Brazilian exports at 2.5 million tons.

Editors note: Richard Brock, Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.