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January 4, 2017

Argentina Soybean Crop Disrupted by Adverse Weather

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

With recent heavy rains and localized flooding, Argentina has taken center stage in South America. Argentina has been hard to categorize this growing season. The weather during October was very wet only to be followed by dryer weather during November and the first half of December. It has now turned wet again with heavy rains over the holidays with more rain in the forecast.

It is hard to get accurate information concerning the extent of the flooding due to the holidays, but I did see one report that mentioned 450,000 hectares had been declared a state of emergency. The area where the flooding occurred is a mixture of row crops and pastures, but we do not know how many hectares of soybeans or corn have been impacted.

Over the New Year holiday, the same area received generally 1-2 inches and the forecast is calling for more chances of rain, but not as heavy as the rains over the Christmas holiday. The most recent rains probably did not add to the flooding in Argentina, but instead they kept the area from the needed drying out.

In some areas of the heart of the production (Cordoba, southern Santa Fe, northern Buenos Aires, and Entre Rios), they received up to 10 inches over the Christmas holiday with additional rains of 1-2 inches over the New Year holiday. Interestingly, this is generally the same area that flooded last April when as much as 20 inches of rain fell during the month of April.

There has been localized flooding which will require replanting of the soybeans if it dries out in time. The soybean planting window in central Argentina closes about January 10th. If a farmer is desperate, they could stretch the planting another 10-14 days, but not beyond that. The concern is if the area will dry up enough in order to allow planting before the time runs out. This area is very flat and it takes an extended period of time for the water to drain or soak into the soil. A field with a foot of water on it would take 1-2 weeks of dry weather before any replanting could be attempted, provided there is no additional rainfall.

Outside of the areas of heavy rainfall, Argentine farmers made progress last week planting their soybeans which were 85% planted as of late last week. There are still about 3 million hectares of soybeans left to plant in Argentina. Approximately 55% of the soybeans left to plant are in northern Argentina and 35% are in southern Argentina. This 3 million hectares left to plant does not include any soybeans that may need to be replanted.

There continues to be a dry area in southern Buenos Aires province where they have missed almost all the rains over the last several months. It is estimated that there are still 600,000 hectares of soybeans left to plant in southern Buenos Aires province.

I think there is a strong possibility that not all the intended soybeans will be planted in Argentina. This would include double crop soybeans that may not get planted and drowned out soybeans that may not get replanted. In a worst case scenario where the flooded areas do not dry up in time to replant the soybeans, maybe as much as one million hectares of soybeans in Argentina may not get planted including first planting and replanting. That would equate to about 5% of the soybean acreage and about 3 million tons of soybean production. At this point, this is just a guess until we get further information.

As is always the case with situations like this, if the fields are flooded it is a catastrophe, but outside of the flooded areas, the rainfall is beneficial for yields. The soybeans in Argentina that are outside of the flooded areas are generally rated good to very good. Therefore, I think the soybean yields in Argentina will be fine, but the acreage may end up being less than anticipated.