Rural producer Gilcesar Zeny, who plants 2,000 hectares with soybeans, beans, corn, wheat and oats in the region of Ponta Grossa (PR), does not hide his happiness with the result of the harvest this year. Without citing figures, he says only that the results obtained in the last harvest exceeded those of previous years. And the profit was reapplied to the business itself. “This year, I renovated a combine and two tractors, bought another new tractor, in addition to supplies for the entire summer harvest,” he says.
It’s not just him. Capitalized on account of the good results of the 2019/2020 harvest, the producers increased investments in the current crop, which is being planted. This spins the wheel of prosperity in the countryside, as it signals productivity gains, if the climate doesn’t get in the way. At MacPonta Agro, which resells agricultural machinery John Deere brand, in Ponta Grossa, there was a rush by farmers to renew the fleet.
“Good productivity and the availability of credit made this the best time to buy,” says the commercial director of the dealership, Gedor Vieira. According to him, the movement extends to 2021, as future contracts for the next harvest are guaranteeing good prices and drawing a positive scenario.
“The producer is really investing heavily,” says Leandro César Teixeira, Superintendent of Cooperative Relationship at Cocamar, one of the country’s largest agribusiness cooperatives, headquartered in Maringá, northern Paraná. Before planting the current soybean crop (which began to be sown in October in the region), Cocamar had already sold more inputs than it had marketed for the 2019/2020 crop until February this year. These purchases involve fertilizer, pesticides, seeds and machines, for example.
Teixeira says that the cooperative’s farmers are capitalized and the default on input purchases is at an all-time low, between 1.5% and 2%. In addition, the pace of early commercialization of grains is very strong, which increases the availability of resources for investments. In soybeans, 40% of the next harvest was sold before planting. In safrinha corn, to be sown only in February 2021, 10% of production is now sold. “We see that next year will be very positive for agribusiness,” predicts Teixeira, taking into account an even greater volume of investments in technology.
Dollar was the main factor
Experts say that the devaluation of the real against the dollar this year is the main factor that boosted the income of grain farmers, whose prices are set in the international market. It turns out that many costs to produce these grains – such as fertilizers, pesticides and even the diesel used to touch the machines – are also linked to the exchange rate. With the high dollar, it would be natural to expect expenses to be pressured, even canceling the gain obtained with the harvest. However, this is not what happened this year.
A survey by the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) shows that farmers were able to increase profit margins on all grains, even though they spent more to put the crop up. The gross margin (profit) of soybeans produced in Cascavel (PR), for example, increased 207% compared to 2019 and was the best result for the region since the survey began to be made by CNA, more than ten years ago. In Sorriso (MT), in turn, the soybean margin grew 37% and surpassed the average of the previous three years by 11%.
Maize, which traditionally was a crop that only paid the costs and did not have much left for the producer, had an extraordinary result because of record prices. In Cascavel (PR), the margin this year for the second corn crop was multiplied by six compared to that obtained in 2019, the survey shows. The gross margin obtained with rice production, which since the 2009/2010 harvest was not sufficient to cover all costs, in 2020 interrupted the sequence of bad years.
According to agronomist Fabio Carneiro, CNA’s technical advisor, the farmer’s gross profit has increased because he has professionalized management. “It invested, increased productivity, sold soy in advance to lock in costs and improved risk management”, he explains. / COLABORORU MILLENA SARTORI, SPECIAL FOR THE STATE