Corn plantings in Brazil’s top-producing state of Parana will drop by 20% in 2009-2010 compared with last year, according to the Parana Department of Agriculture and Supply (Seab).

The area of land planted to corn in Parana is likely to be the smallest since the 1970s when the state’s Department of Rural Economy (Deral) began tracking acreage, Seab said.

The department estimated that Parana's farmers intend to plant 1.01 million hectares (2.50 million acres) of corn, down from 1.26 million hectares in 2008-2009.

"Farmers have been very unsatisfied with the price of corn and they are turning to soybeans," technical specialist Otmar Hubner, told Dow Jones Newswires on Tuesday.

Farmers expect to harvest 7.08 million metric tons (mmt) of corn from the first corn crop that is currently being planted, Hubner said. Brazil has two corn crops per year.

As a result of the smaller corn area, Parana, which is Brazil's No. 2 soy-producing state, expects its planted soy area to rise by 6.5% to the highest level in three years. Seab pegged 2009-2010 soybean plantings at 4.27 million hectares (10.55 million acres), compared with 4.008 million hectares last year.

Seab estimates that the state's soy crop will reach a record of 13 mmt in 2009-2010, up 39% from last year’s 9.37-mmt crop, which was reduced by severe drought that hit the state from late October through early December.

Rains should be normal during the 2009-2010 crop season in Parana, so a damaging drought isn't expected like during 2008-2009, Hubner said.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.