Weekly Product Updates

W40: Maize (Corn) Update

Maize (Corn) Seed
Market & Price Trends
Maize (Corn)
Published Oct 13, 2023

In W40 in the maize landscape, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange of Argentina reported that as of September 27, the maize planting progress reached 7.3% of the planned area, covering 534.2 thousand hectares (ha). While this figure is 6% higher than in 2022, it remains notably below the five-year average of 15.4%. During W39, a slowed down of sowing occurred due to insufficient rainfall, limiting work to areas with adequate soil moisture. The final area planted during the early sowing season will depend on precipitation levels over the next 15 days.

Mexico plans to phase out genetically modified corn and glyphosate by Feb-24, posing a challenge to United States (US) exports as around 90% of US corn is genetically modified. The Biden administration intends to legally challenge Mexico's embargo on these products, citing provisions in the free trade agreement between the two countries. Mexico's decision to limit GMO corn usage aims to protect domestic corn production and ensure food sovereignty. A dispute settlement commission under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has been established, reflecting the economic and agricultural consequences of Mexico's embargo on US trade, primarily in GMO corn. Mexico has proposed cooperation with the US on scientific research regarding the health effects of GMO corn, but the US declined, arguing that existing research is sufficient.

Furthermore, amidst the climate crisis and the Mexican Government's opposition to genetically modified grains, indigenous farmers in Oaxaca, Mexico, have been organizing seed banks to protect traditional corn varieties. The lack of rainfall in the region has prompted farmers to adapt their cultivation methods, switching from rainfed to irrigation. Corn is a staple crop for these indigenous communities, used for self-consumption and local sales. The prolonged drought in Mexico, affecting about two-thirds of the country, has led to the creation of community seed banks, such as "Casa del Rayo" in Santa Ana Zegache, which aim to preserve native corn varieties and safeguard them against the impacts of climate change. These efforts are critical to ensure food security for the indigenous communities in the region, which heavily rely on corn.

Chinese importers have recently displayed heightened interest in purchasing Ukrainian maize due to its competitive pricing in the market. Traders from Singapore also expect significant Ukrainian maize purchases, roughly equivalent to 10-12 Panamax loads, scheduled for delivery between November and December. Despite the availability of alternative export routes like the grain corridor and river ports, the Odessa and Mykolaiv ports remain pivotal for active grain exports.

Lastly, Brazil's estimated corn harvest for the 2023/24 season has been revised downward, primarily due to a projected 4.5% decline in the cultivated area compared to the previous season. The expected production area has been reduced from 4.18 million hectares (ha) to 3.99 million ha, with some farmers opting for soybean cultivation instead of corn. However, despite the decrease in the cultivation area, an increase in average productivity is anticipated, which should boost the yield from 5.92 thousand kilograms/ha to 6.71 thousand kg/ha.

For the 2024 off-season crop, the planned area is expected to be 0.4% smaller than the previous year. This reduction in cultivation area may lead to a drop in average productivity from 6.44 thousand kg/ha in the current season to 6.12 thousand kg/ha. In the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, the area for corn cultivation is forecasted to decline by 1.7% in the 2023/24 season, with an expected average productivity of 5.77 thousand kg/ha. The total corn cultivation area for the 2023/24 season is anticipated to be 1.3% smaller than the previous season, with a potential yield of 6.19 kg/ha. This translates to an estimated national corn production of 135.71 million tons for the upcoming season, a decrease from previous estimates and the previous year.

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