November 2, 2011
Mexico's corn imports to hit record due to unfavourable weather
Mexico's corn production is affected by adverse weather factors, thereby increasing the need for higher corn imports in 2011/12.
The country, which had been expected to see one of its best ever crops in 2011/12, of 24 million tonnes, is now looking at a 20.5 million tonnes harvest, a decline year on year according to USDA.
Spring summer corn, the bigger of Mexico's two crops, "has suffered a combination of unfavourable weather factors such as late rains, frost and floods that, reduced total yields", the attaches said.
Some 380,000 hectares of, mainly corn, crops has been hurt by an early September freeze, the country's second damaging chill of the year, after a February frost which affected in particular crops in the major growing state of Sinaola.
And corn farmers in Sinaloa, Mexico's biggest producer of autumn winter corn, looked set for a second year of disappointment, thanks to dryness which has left reservoirs less than half full with the sowing season about to begin.
Sergio Soto, a deputy director at Mexico's water board, Conagua, said that "what is really worrying is the situation in Sinaloa's water reservoirs, which are suffering from serious water restrictions", at a time when moisture is badly needed, with the state's corn sowings about to begin.
Mexico will make up some of the corn deficit through alternatives such as, in feed, distillers grains, of which the country has become the top importer from the US, with buy-ins rising 16% to nearly 1.3 million tonnes in the first eight months of 2011.
However, it will require bigger corn imports too, of 9.8 million tonnes, 600,000 tonnes more than the USDA is currently factoring in, the attaches said.
Mexico's current corn import record is 9.56 million tonnes, set four years ago.
The country's corn imports are particularly important for US trade. Not only is Mexico the world's second ranked corn buyer, after Japan, but it sources nearly all its imports from its northern neighbour.