The United States of America has been the world’s top corn exporter for years, but that may change in the near future. Andre Passoa of Agroconsult predicts that Brazil’s corn output will double within the next decade, which would allow it to match or even to beat America’s output. The USDA disagrees with that number, but it does agree that Brazil’s corn output will keep growing at a significant rate.
The cost of growing corn in Brazil has been dropping for quite some time, and the productivity of farms has been rising. Combined with the increase of corn farming areas as well as the adoption of crops with favorable genetic modifications, there have been significant infrastructure improvements to turn corn into a strong export crop. Most of the improvements have been made to the production of second crop corn, which is a major asset for farmers in some of the most productive parts of Brazil.
The Power of Second Crop Corn
Second crop corn refers to the corn plants that are sown right after the farmers harvest the year’s soybeans. Most of the farms that grow it are in Brazil’s Center West states, which gives it a geographical advantage for export. The farms are fairly close to the country’s primary ports and relatively far away from the centers of animal husbandry. That helps to make it better for farmers to sell to foreign buyers rather than to ship the corn for use as animal feed. It is fairly easy to process because the farmers plant it after the soybeans have been harvested. The soybeans briefly clog the ports, but they can handle new shipments by the time the corn is ready.
An Ongoing Trend
The current increase in Brazilian corn production is really part of an ongoing trend. The country’s productivity has been steadily rising for more than a decade, and demand for corn in Brazil has not risen at the same rate. The country is continuing to adopt new varieties of corn and improve its infrastructure with some government support, so it is reasonable to assume that the trend will continue. Brazilians are already the second largest producer of corn in the world, so if anyone can challenge American dominance in the industry, it will be them.