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October 10, 2018

Scattered Problems for First Phase of Corn Planting in Argentina

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

The weather in Argentina thus far this early growing season has been a mixed bag. Some areas have good soil moisture allowing the first phase of corn plating to advance at an average pace. Other areas are still dryer than normal with farmers waiting for improved soil moisture to plant their corn. The temperatures in Argentina have been cooler than normal, with some areas experiencing scattered frosts last week. The near term forecast is calling for dryer than normal weather across much of the country.

Corn planting in Argentina occurs in two phases. In the core production areas of central Argentina, the first phase of planting starts in September and generally ends about mid-October. The second phase of planting generally starts in late November or early December and ends about mid-January. Slightly less than half of the corn in Argentina is generally planted during the first phase.

Corn planting in southeastern Cordoba is being delayed by dry weather. According to Cristian Russo from the Rosario Grain Exchange, in the municipality of Marcos Juarez for example, the early corn planting is 50% to 60% complete when it normally would be 90% planted by this time of the year. Farmers do not like to plant their early corn too late because the corn would then be pollinating in late December or early January, which could be the hottest and driest time of the year.

In the core production regions of central Argentina, the planting window for early corn will only be open for about another ten days, but there are still approximately 330,000 hectares of early corn left to plant.

Russo estimates that if it stays dry for another week or so, farmers in central Argentina could decide to switch their corn planting to the second phase of planting or decide to forgo some of the corn and plant more soybeans instead.

In addition to Cordoba, there are also dry pockets in Buenos Aires and southern Santa Fe as well. The best planting weather thus far has generally been in eastern Argentina.