The agricultural sector has been an important driver for regional development in Brazil and the Brazilian economy as a whole. In this sense, the use of indicators and methods to identify the sources of growth of crop production in the Northeastern Cerrado region can support the design of policies to manage the use and occupation of land in agricultural areas, as well as guide investment in infrastructure, for example. From the 1990s onwards, a new agricultural frontier based on capital intense production systems is being opened in Brazil, the territory known as Cerrado Nordestino. In this context, the aim of this paper is to identify and analyze, based on the Shift-share Model, some of the sources of growth in temporary crop production in Cerrado Nordestino from 1990 to 2012, which are leading the occupation of the territory. The results were performed at the municipal scale, which allowed the spatial distribution of crops and the identification of the most dynamic areas. Soybean and corn have driven the occupation of agricultural frontier.