Record grain harvest: will Brazil be able to maintain this level for next years?
The pandemic scenario brought changes to the most diverse areas. However, agribusiness does not appear to have suffered direct impacts. The forecast for the greatest harvest in history, reaching record grain yields — with emphasis on corn, soy, rice, beans and cotton — clarifies the moment we are in.
To understand a little more, we spoke with Cleverton Santana, CONAB’s Superintendent of Agribusiness Information. The National Supply Company also provides information on the difficulties faced by the modern producer, who increasingly seeks information on climate, technologies and good cultural practices in order to improve the quality of the harvests. Keep reading!
Numbers of the last harvests
In order to understand the expected harvest record, it is important to know some numbers. The comparison between them is in relation to the 65.5 million hectares, in total, that were planted by Brazil in the 2019/2020 harvest. Meanwhile, the previous ones reached a maximum of 63.2 million hectares. The expert explains that more than 2 million extra hectares were planted, with emphasis on soy. The grain is the flagship of the sector and has shown good profitability for years. It reached 36.8 million hectares alone.
Soy was planted in the second half of 2019 and is concentrated from September to November. In the second harvest, the highlight is the corn culture, responsible for composing a large part of the production. The development phase is almost finished and the harvest has started. This is just one scenario that explains the country’s grain records.
Last year’s record, so far, was the most expressive. It reached 242 million tons. This year, a gross value of agricultural production estimated at 689.97 billion reais is expected. As a percentage, the forecast reaches 7.6% higher than the previous one — when it reached 641.3 billion. The evaluation of macro information in Brazil estimates a production above 250 million tons in total.
Scenarios that made record grain harvests possible
There are several reasons that allowed a record in the current scenario. “The rural producer had already acquired the inputs before the start of the pandemic”, points out the Superintendent. Thus, it is possible to state that no direct impacts of the coronavirus on grain production were perceived. By adding this factor to a larger planting area, the results obtained are explained.
Previous preparation brings even more advantages. At the moment, rural producers are harvesting, for example, the second cycle of corn. Winter cultures are also being planted, especially in the regions of Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul. This is a moment that requires attention, as it can suffer impacts due to climatic conditions.
However, according to Cleverton Santana, the same care with the pandemic was taken so that winter was not a hindrance. Inputs were purchased in advance. He states that “producers are being cautious, but fieldwork, delivery of inputs and cultural treatment take place within normal limits”.
Rapid changes are commonly seen in the context of agribusiness. The producer is already accustomed to them and, more and more, is preparing to keep the chain — not only of production, but also of agricultural exports and imports, such as soy shipment — in full operation.
The perspectives for the future
Asked about future prospects, the expert says it is impossible to offer accuracy in relation to record grain harvests. However, there is an increase in the number of exports that can be beneficial for the country. “We have China, which is a big buyer of soy. It increased exports in April (by 2.6%)”, he points out. The projections are made in the months of July and August.
Monitoring is done in the field. In it, production costs and harvests arising from them are assessed. To understand the scenario, it is necessary to reinforce the idea that the agricultural sector is very dynamic. Brazil is a continental country. This characteristic promotes the planting capacity of up to three harvests within an agricultural year. To get the best out of each of them, it is essential that the producer is adaptable.
Considering that soy always stands out in planting, new options must be sought. The dynamism of the culture allows alternatives to be available: sunflower, cotton, corn, castor bean, canola, rye, among others. In short, the producer who is prepared is capable of maintaining record grain harvests and even exceeding them. Some suggestions are important for stability and adaptability.
What the producer has been doing to keep the numbers up
In any nation, food is an essential item. That is why it is possible to count on good numbers in the coming years. However, some suggestions from the Superintendent of Agribusiness Information can further leverage the results and assist the producer in their quest for quality in the harvests:
- search for new and efficient technologies;
- plant the most suitable variety for the region;
- sow at an appropriate time;
- invest in innovations to inhibit low productivity due to climatic conditions;
- prepare to face market changes;
- focus on reducing costs to increase profitability;
- always pay attention to climate forecasts;
- align harvest and planting months etc.
According to the specialist, the first harvest is planted from September to December and is harvested from January to March. The second is planted from January to March and harvested from May to August. He ends with an example that reports the loss of the first bean harvest due to the reduction in area. After all, its culture competes with that of soy and corn. The first harvest is harvested in the rainy season, which makes a difference in its quality. To compensate, the producer needed to plant more in the second cycle.
Record grain harvests in Brazil are explained by several factors. In addition to the low impact of the pandemic (which has been concentrating in large cities), there was a greater planting area. Producers are also adapted to adversity, making them prepared to face challenges in the agribusiness scenario and align themselves more and more with new technologies and good cultural practices. Even if it is not possible to predict the future, the expectations for those seeking to educate themselves in relation to the country’s particularities are positive.
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