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December 6, 2017

Argentine Planting Slower than Average, Potential Dryness Worries

Argentine Soybeans - The farmers in Argentina have had two good weeks of soybean planting and it looks like this week will be good as well. They should make good progress on soybean planting although it will still probably be a little slower than average.

Argentine farmers planted 12% of their soybeans last week and the 2016/17 Argentine soybean crop is now 46% planted according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. This compares to 55% last year and 54% average. In the northern core and southern core regions, the soybeans are approximately 70% to 80% planted. In the more southern locations, the soybeans are 40% to 50% planted and in the more northern locations, the soybeans are 10% to 20% planted.

The weather in Argentina during October was generally wet, then in November it turned dryer, and now the forecast for December is dryer as well. The Argentine National Weather Service is forecasting that the weather during December-January-February has a high probability of being dryer than normal in central Argentina and Buenos Aires province, which are the two major production areas of Argentina. The temperatures during those three months are expected to be normal to above normal.

Therefore, while the short term forecast is favorable, the long term forecast is not favorable. The meteorologists in Argentina feel the weak La Nina will lead to a dryer than normal summer growing season in Argentina.

Farmers in Argentina would like to have the majority of the full-season soybeans planted by the end of December with the last double crop soybeans planted in January. If the weather during December and early January ends up being dryer than normal, it is possible that a few hectares of corn might get switched over to soybeans due to the potential dryness. It is far too early to say that will happen for sure, but it could be a possibility.

The weather last week in Argentina was generally OK, but probably a little on the dry side. Areas that missed out on the rains include southern Buenos Aires province and parts of Cordoba. The central production region of the country seemed to benefit the most from last week's weather and the dryer weather helped farmers to accelerate their planting, especially for soybeans.

Probably the area where soybean planting is the slowest is in southern Buenos Aires province where it was very cold up until a few weeks ago and it has generally been dry for most of the spring.

Argentina Corn -Now that the calendar has turned to December, farmers in Argentina have started to show more interest in planting their late corn. Farmers planted 2% of their intended corn last week which now stands at 43% planted. Last year it was 44% and the average is 52%. In the northern core region and the southern core region, the corn is approximately 85% planted. In the more southern locations in Argentina, the corn is approximately 45% to 65% planted with the corn in northern Argentina approximately 45% to 65% planted.

More than half of the corn in Argentina will be planted during this second phase of planting which will not end until sometime later in January. Some of the later planted corn will actually be double cropped after wheat, barley, or even sunflowers. In recent years, the corn in Argentina has been planted later and later and it has generally performed well given how late it has been planted. I am more concerned about the late corn planting this year because of the dryer weather forecast.

The corn that has been planted varies from early vegetative development to some corn already past pollination. The vast majority of the corn this far is rated in good to excellent condition.

It always amazes me how spread out the corn growing season is in Argentina. There will be some farmers harvesting their corn in eastern Argentina while farmers in northern Argentina are still planting their corn.