What are the first crop, second crop, and off-season? Learn the differences!
Find out about the concepts of the first crop, second crop, and off-season. We explain the key differences among them and how they relate to risk management.
The first crop, the second crop, and the off-season are terms associated with agricultural production that are related to the planting and harvesting periods of certain crops. These concepts are common with rural producers and are vital for the planning and risk management of agricultural activities.
Some crops have a short growing cycle and only develop well at certain times of the year. However, there are others that are annual. That´s why the terms first crop, second crop, and off-season refer to both the expected production and the planting time of these crops.
In this article, we´ll explain all the details you need to know!
Do you know what the first crop, the second crop, and the off-season are?
The annual calendar used for agriculture is different from the conventional one, as it begins with the planting of a new crop, and depends on the crop planted, and the climatic conditions of each region.
Check out how the terms first crop, second crop, and off-season are used in practice.
- The First Crop
The first crop refers to the main planting and harvesting periods for a specific crop. Generally, it corresponds to the time of year when the climate and soil are most favorable for the development of this plant, making it possible to obtain higher yields. In several areas, it occurs during the rainy season, when there´s greater availability of water for natural crop irrigation.
During the first crop´s harvest, farmers prepare the soil, plant seeds and seedlings, monitor the plant growth, and finally, harvest the crops when they reach their ideal maturation point. Roughly speaking, the investment is made before planting begins, with the purchase of inputs and soil preparation. Agricultural production, on the other hand, takes place with the harvest.
Here´s an example of how it works: In the case of soybeans, the expression ´first crop´ refers to the primary period of planting and harvesting this crop, which can vary according to the region, the climate, and the agricultural practices adopted by producers. In Brazil, the first crop starts at the end of September with planting in the first states, taking advantage of the rainy summer months for crop development.
1. Safrinha – The Second Crop
The second crop (´safrinha´ in Portuguese) refers to the cultivation of a secondary crop. In many areas, the second crop develops during the dry season or in periods when the primary crop doesn´t develop properly due to unfavorable weather.
The second-crop planting can be done immediately after the main crop is harvested or after some time interval. The purpose of this second crop is to take advantage of the remainder of the growing season to obtain a second harvest, and of course, increase the productivity of the cultivated area. Although this term is most associated with corn, it can refer to other crops also planted after the summer harvest.
To understand better, let’s consider a practical example of how this occurs in Brazil. In general, producers choose to plant soybeans during the main harvest season due to their higher value and the more liquid physical market in Brazil. On land where it´s still possible to cultivate, the space is used to plant corn as a secondary crop. Thus, this secondary period can be better used with higher productivity, if good planning and correct soil preparation are carried out.
2. Entressafra – The Off-Season
The off-season is the period between the end of the second season and the beginning of planting for the next primary season. This time is often marked by a dry or cold season, with the chance of limiting proper crop development.
The off-season is an important time for the soil to rest, as well as to maintain and prepare it ahead of the agricultural activities to follow. Farmers use this period to rotate crops, fertilize, and carry out the necessary cultural treatments to improve productivity and soil health for the next harvest.
Risk Management: How important is it in each period?
The price of agricultural commodities is determined by world supply and demand, which are in turn impacted by factors such as weather, production costs, government policies, exchange rates, macroeconomics, and geopolitical events. During the first crop, the second crop, and the off-season periods, these varying conditions can significantly influence agricultural commodity prices.
During the first crop´s harvest period, for example, the supply of a certain commodity tends to increase, as there´s greater availability of specific agricultural products on the market. If supply exceeds demand, prices can be pushed down. A bumper crop is likely to result in overstocks, which lead to price decreases.
In this scenario, risk management plays a crucial role for agricultural producers. They can use financial instruments, such as agricultural derivatives, to hedge against commodity price volatility. By doing so, farmers secure a minimum value for their production while they avoid losses.
During the second crop, the supply of agricultural commodities may vary depending on the region and the secondary crops cultivated. If the second crop occurs at a time when the global supply of a given commodity is already high due to the primary harvest in other locations, this can further pressure prices downwards. Risk management also plays an essential role in protecting against volatility.
In the off-season, the supply of agricultural commodities tends to decrease, as there´s no planting and harvesting of main crops in many areas. Thus, it´s possible for there to be a reduction in stocks available in the market, which may increase commodity prices. Risk management during the off-season involves careful analysis of price trends and supply and demand scenarios to anticipate possible commodity price changes.
hEDGEpoint: How can you develop the best planning and risk management?
The prices of agricultural commodities are determined by numerous factors during the first harvest, the second harvest, and the off-season periods. Conducting good planning together with risk management is vital for the success of agricultural activities. Every culture has a cycle, and we can´t control factors such as bad weather, political conflicts, and changes in the local and global economies.
O mercado de commodities é extremamente volátil a todos esses aspectos. A hEDGEpoint une inteligência de mercado ao conhecimento de especialistas em diferentes commodities e regiões do mundo, oferecendo acesso a ferramentas de hedge que permitem gerenciar riscos e realizar a tomada de decisões de forma assertiva.
Commodity markets are extremely volatile in all these respects. hEDGEpoint unites market intelligence with expert knowledge of different commodities and global regions, offering access to hedging tools that allow you to manage risks and make more assertive decisions.
If you need any help getting organized, download our harvest calendar!
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