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April 6, 2017

Flooding Impacting Province of La Pampa in Argentina

Farmers in the province of La Pampa in Argentina have received more rain during the first three months of 2017 than they normally receive in an entire year. In various regions of the province, they received 600 mm or more (24 inches) in just a six-day period ending over this past weekend, which is more than they would normally receive in an entire year.

The president of the Rural Society of General Pico, where the flooding has been the worst, explained that the region normally receives 650 mm of rainfall per year (26 inches), but they have already received 900 mm (36 inches) during the first three months of the year. The region is very flat and it takes a long time for flood waters to recede and unfortunately, there is more rain in the forecast.

The province of La Pampa is a relatively small soybean and corn producing province, but more ominous is the forecast for heavy rains in major producing provinces of Santa Fe, Cordoba, and Entre Rios over next weekend and into next week.

The recent flooding in La Pampa is a disaster for farmers and ranchers in the region. The soybeans in the region are mature and ready for harvest, but many fields are under water. Any mature soybean field that is under water will be a complete loss because the soybean seeds will sprout in the pods. Farmers in the region had been expecting a generally good crop before the flooding, but that is now not possible. The extent of the loses to the grain crops in the region will be uncertain until farmers have a chance to get into the fields.

Ranchers in the region are also suffering losses due to lack of pastures and supplemental feed for their cattle.

Transportation in the region has also been impacted by the flooding. Some asphalted highways in the region are closed due to high water and the unpaved rural roads are impassable especially for heavy grain trucks.

This is the third time this growing season the region has experienced flooding. The region experienced flooding last October just as the 2016/17 growing season was getting underway. After the flood waters receded, farmers were able to get their soybean and corn crops planted. The region experienced more limited flooding in February, but most of the crops had progressed well in spite of the saturated conditions and farmers were expected a good harvest until the recent floods.

The situation is eerily similar to a year ago when regions of Santa Fe and Buenos Aires experienced severe flooding during April, also when the soybeans and corn crops were ready for harvest.