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February 13, 2018

Weekend Rains Disappoint in Argentina, Dryness Returns

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

The weather last week in Argentina was hot and dry especially in the central and southern locations and the rainfall over the weekend ended up being disappointing. There were some isolated showers in northern Cordoba and northern Santa Fe with a little rain in northern Buenos Aires. Most of the rain fell across the northern parts of Argentina where they really were not needed. The driest areas of Argentina are Buenos Aires, La Pampa, and parts of southern Cordoba and southern Santa Fe, and those are the areas that received the least amount of rain over the weekend.

The forecast does not look good for Argentina. There is very little rainfall in the forecast for this week with maybe some rain in the 6-10 forecast. The temperatures will be cooler early this week, but they will be increasing again later in the week.

Speaking of temperatures, in some areas of Buenos Aires, the temperatures Sunday night got down to 32°F! I don't think it caused any damage to the soybeans, but it came as a big surprise because the first frost usually does occur until about mid-May.

I am not putting much faith in the 6-10 day forecast because the pattern for the last several months has been that the rains underperform compared to the forecast. It seems like the default position for the models is to call for rain in the 6-10 day period.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange rated the soil moisture for the soybeans as about 75% dry to average, 20% adequate to good, and 5% excessive. The soil moisture is generally better in far northern Argentina and dryer in central and southern Argentina. The soybeans in Argentina are about 40% setting pods and 15% filling pods.

In their weekly commentary, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange lowered their 2017/18 Argentina soybean estimate 1.0 million tons to 50.0 million. They attributed the decline to the prolonged hot and dry conditions across the country just as the soybean crop enters into the critical reproductive phase.

As I have said many time, you always have to wait for soybeans to judge the final yield. I think the soybean yields in many areas of Argentina have already been negatively impacted, but the final yield will be determined by the rainfall over the next 4-5 weeks. If Argentina would receive some good rains during that period, the soybeans could make a partial recovery. If it stays hot and dry, the yields will decline even further.