02-15-2011 04:49 AM - edited 02-15-2011 04:54 AM
I wish I would have kept track, but after traveling nine days through five Brazilian states, I think it's rained everyday. Some days the rains have been pretty heavy. So far, here are my impressions along the Crop Expediton.
--The crop looks good everywhere. Is it a record crop, it certainly could be, but I wouldn't know that for sure.
--There is a lot more cotton planted in this country vs. last year. We talked to a U.S. farmer that planted cotton for the first time in his life. Is this a precursor to the U.S. spring plantings? It's worth asking yourself.
--The corn yields get better each year, the soybeans this year are high 40-bushels per acre.
--Brazil's a very big place. As mentioned, from south-to-north, the Crop Expedition has traveled over 2,000 miles and has seen 'just planted' corn, knee-high corn, 7-foot corn, edible beans just planted, beans that haven't started defoliation, beans that are nearing harvest and beans harvested. In fact, one farmer in northern Brazil was harvesting soybeans and planting corn in the same field, at the same time.
--Poultry production is increasing big-time in Brazil. This means more corn use.
--Oh, did I mention, it's raining this morning too.
--Farmers are awaiting the Brazilian government to decide on environmental laws regarding what percentage of their farm has to be dedicated to preservation.
--The potential for added acres in Brazil is tremendous, more than you realize until you see it.
--It depends on who you talk to, but the Brazilian 'soybean rush' (U.S. farm-interests in Brazil) may or may not be waning. I've talked to U.S. farmers here that say the number of U.S. farmers coming to Brazil has slowed. However, one U.S. investor group that has been here since 1999 says the traffic from U.S. farmers is as busy now as it ever has been. Maybe bigger investment farm groups now vs. smaller, individual farmers in the beginning.
--Also, some U.S. farmers say it's tough to forward-price crops one and two years out, unlike in the U.S. But, that question gets you different answers too. On one hand, because corn is such a domestic market, the buyers are less likely to look to far out. And then I hear that one you get to know the players, your marketing options begin to open up.
--The Brazilian farmers are nice folks, very hospitable, and they appear to be good at growing crops.
--It's also my impression the U.S. farmers realize they are guests here and the relationships between they and their native neighbors is much better than what the perception might be.
--On crop sales, I've heard anything from 10%-80% on new-crop sales.
--I'm passing along this discussion forum for Brazilian farmers to stop in and visit with you all. Hopefully, this will spark some interaction on many different topics between the two America's.
I hope you get a chance to visit the slideshows, videos and stories sent from the Crop Expediton in Brazil. It's a learning experience here, always.
02-15-2011 06:55 AM
Recently an Illinois farmer who's invested in Brazilian farmland told me that the Brazilian government is either prohibiting or limiting outside investors from purchasing farmland. Have you heard anything about this? Any safety issues? Some cities make Chicago look like Disneyland.
02-15-2011 08:03 AM
Mike good morning from Iowa! It's getting warm here 44 degrees yesterday (that's Fahrenheit). Got to thinking yesterday about two things.
1. Do they pay attention to currency fluctuations like some of us do?
2. Do you see much diversification in their farming operation such as cattle corn and beans on one farm or is it pretty much a crop farm or livestock enterprise?
3. Final thought I was wondering if they have the Foot and Mouth disease under control down there or is it something they are worried might flare up again? South Korea seems hell bent on killing everything this time to get it under control.
Gotta go warm weather means manure to haul.