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February 3, 2016

Dryer Weather in Argentine Starting to be a Concern

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

For the first time this growing season, the weather in Argentina is catching the attention of the market. The month of January has been dryer than normal across most of the country and it has led to the development of soil moisture deficits. The area of most concern is generally northeastern Buenos Aires, central Santa Fe, and Entre Rios. Basically draw a semicircle about 200 to 300 kilometers out from the city of Buenos Aires and that is area of developing concern.

The soils of Argentina have a very good water holding capacity, so it takes a while for serious moisture deficits to develop. Outside of a few very dry areas, the dryness would have to persist for another 1-2 weeks before the situation became critical. If the dry areas receive rain this week, then there was probably not much harm done outside of the very dry areas. There are some showers forecasted for this week with a better chance of rain in the long range forecast.

The corn crop has the potential for being impacted by the dry weather more so than the soybean crop. The Rosario Grain Exchange estimated late last week that 8% of the main agricultural area in Argentina was suffering from drought. It is very difficult to say how much of the Argentine corn crop is currently at the sensitive pollination phase since the development of the crop this year is so spread out. The most advanced corn is approaching maturity and the early harvest should start within two weeks. While at the same time, they are still planting corn in far northern Argentina.

I would estimate that 30-40% of the corn crop in Argentina is either pre-pollination, pollinating, or has just finished pollinating, but I will be first to admit that this is an educated guess since we don't have any nationwide estimates for the development of the crops. Corn generally pollinates about 60 days after planting and if you go back 60 days prior to today, which was December 2nd, the corn was 39% planted in Argentina.

The Argentine soybean crop is not far enough along in its development be at a critical stage during this developing dryness. The most advanced soybeans in Argentina are now flowering and setting pods while they just finished planting soybeans in northern Argentina. As a comparison, 60 days ago (December 2nd) the soybean crop in Argentina was 43% planted.