Argentina’s government expects to start corn  exports to China with the country’s 2011-2012 crop, which will come to market starting in February. Argentina plans on signing a final agreement with China sometime between July and November to set the framework for the first shipments, Agriculture sub-secretary Oscar Solis said in a weekend press release.
Argentine agriculture ministry officials are currently in China for the latest round of talks on starting corn, beef, wine, biofuels and barley sales to the Asian giant.
While Argentina's initial corn sales to China are expected to be relatively small, "we're dealing with a key market that will be open for the future," Solis said.
The agriculture ministry has forecast corn production for the 2010-2011 season at 21.6 million metric tons, one of the largest crops on record.
Argentina’s corn plantings are expected to expand during the 2011-2012 season at the expense of soybeans due to the relative profits between the country's top crops, Solis said.
He said corn plantings for 2011-2012 are likely to be about 6 million hectares, while soybean  plantings should run about 18 million hectares.
During the 2010-2011 season, Argentine producers planted 18.7 million hectares soybeans, while corn area reached 4.34 million hectares, according to the agriculture ministry.
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.