Although showers and cooler temperatures provided some relief for key growing areas of central Argentina over Christmas weekend, crops there remain under stress from drier than normal conditions, raising doubts about Argentina’s corn and soybean production potential.
The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange on Dec. 23 lowered its estimate of Argentina’s soybean plantings by 200,000 hectares (494,200 acres) to 18.5 million hectares (45.7 million acres) due to dry conditions.
That’s not a big drop, but the exchange now sees seedings down 500,000 hectares (1.235 million acres) from last year and there is no widespread rainfall in sight for dry areas of the Argentine soybean belt, so plantings could fall further.
Private estimates of soybean production have slipped into the 48-49 million metric ton (mmt) range compared with the 52 mmt estimated by USDA and by Argentina’s agriculture ministry.
Soybean planting continues to move slowly due to moisture shortages. Argentina’s Agriculture Secretariat pegged planting progress at 77% as of Dec. 23, up 5 percentage points from a week earlier, but 5 points behind a year earlier.
Weekend rains ranging from 0.1-0.6 in. that fell across Argentina’s largest soybean-producing state of Buenos Aires won’t do much to help conditions there with daily high temperatures expected to be in the 90° F range this week.
Warm, dry weather is expected to dominate the majority of Argentina’s growing regions over the next week to 10 days, prolonging soybean planting delays and stressing pollinating corn in the drier areas.
Argentina’s corn crop was 85% planted as of Dec. 23, matching last year’s pace, the Agriculture ministry reported. About half of the Argentine corn crop has likely already pollinated or is currently pollinating.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.