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January 6, 2017

Grain Exchange lowers Argentina Soy Acreage 300,000 Hectares

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

The weather in Argentina continues to be very erratic. While farmers in the core production regions of the country are struggling with heavy rains, flooding, hail and severe storms, in southern production areas farmers and ranchers are facing a prolonged drought and high temperatures that have resulted in raging wild fires.

The areas where the heavy rains have fallen since Christmas encompass some of the most productive regions of the country including: Cordoba, Santa Fe, northern Buenos Aires, and Entre Rios. The crops in this area mainly soybeans, corn, wheat, hay and pasture.

The drought area is mainly in southern Buenos Aires, southern La Pampa, and Rio Negro. In southern Buenos Aires, the main crops are soybeans, wheat, and corn. In southern La Pampa and Rio Negro, there are not many row crops planted with most of the area in pastures. The fires thus far have largely been confined to the dry pastures and scrub lands. Estimates are that as much as 800,000 hectares may have been burned.

In the core production areas, the saturated and flooded conditions are impacting the later planted full-season soybeans, the double crop soybeans, and the second phase of the corn planting. The recently planted crops in the flooded fields will be a complete loss and those fields will need to be replanted if it dries out in time to replant. The earlier planted corn is past pollination and into filling the grain, so the earlier planted corn will not be impacted as much as the soybeans or the later planted corn.

The planting window for soybeans in central Argentina generally closes by January 10th, but it could be extended for an additional ten days or so under special circumstances such as what is occurring this year.

In their latest weekly report, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange reduced their 2016/17 Argentine soybean acreage by 300,000 hectares to 19.3 million hectares. They cited drought in southern Buenos Aires and difficulty in getting the crop planted as the reason for the reduction.

According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, the soybean planting in Argentina is 92.9% complete which leaves an estimated 1.3 million hectares left to plant. Approximately 71% of the soybeans left to plant are in northern Argentina, 8% are in the core production region, 21% are in southern Argentina. The soybean acreage left to plant does not include any soybeans that may need to be replanted due to the flooding.

The Grain Exchange estimates that the corn crop is 82.9% planted which leaves 840,000 hectares left to plant. Of the corn left to plant, 89% is in northern Argentina, 2% is in the core production region, and 8% is in southern Argentina. This number also does not include any corn that may need to be replanted.

In contrast to the flooding in central Argentina, southern Buenos Aires province continues to be very dry. The region has basically missed virtually all the rain thus far this growing season. As a result, the soybean planting has basically been suspended while farmers wait for enough moisture to insure germination and stand establishment.