Brazil’s Amaggi to raise cotton area, cut corn and soy acreage

SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Brazil’s privately owned grain farmer and trader Amaggi will reduce soy and corn plantings in the coming season and increase cotton acreage after betting high on the latter commodity, a company executive said on Friday.

Pedro Valente, Amaggi’s director general, said at a farming event in São Paulo that the firm intends to plant 101,000 hectares (249,576 acres) of cotton in the 2019-2020 crop, 15,000 hectares (37,066 acres) more than last season.

He estimated corn plantings of only 3,400 hectares (8,402 acres), 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) less than last crop year.

“Our best corn areas are now planted with cotton,” he said during the presentation.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), over the past two crop years Brazilian cotton producers increased planted area by more than two-thirds – to an estimated 1.57 million hectares (3.88 million acres) in 2018-19.

Based on the record harvest projected for Brazil’s 2018-2019 crop, the country should have enough supplies “to cement its standing as the world’s second largest exporter” of the fiber, the USDA said.

Meanwhile soybeans, Amaggi’s main crop, will take up 155,000 hectares (383,013 acres) in 2019-20, a decrease of roughly 12,000 hectares (29,653 acres) from last season, Valente said.

Planting decisions are based on future sales commitments, among other factors. The director said Amaggi aims to sell between 70 percent and 80 percent of the crop before the start of the new season, without specifying which crops.

Regarding soy, he said two consecutive bumper harvests and African swine fever, which weakened China’s demand for the oilseeds, contributed to a planned reduction of plantings of the crop next season.

“We may go through two slightly more lean years,” Valente said. “Those with good management will be able to navigate this better.”

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