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February 5, 2018

Crops in Uruguay being impacted by Hot and Dry Weather

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

The country of Uruguay, which lies between eastern Argentina and southern Brazil, is experiencing the same weather conditions as in the neighboring countries. The recent weather has been hot and dry and those conditions are expected to persist at least through most of this week as well. Uruguay is a small soybean producer with approximately 3 million tons of production.

At the present time, the soybean crop in Uruguay is doing OK, but it is going to need a rain within about 7 days to avoid potential yield reductions. Farmers are already expecting that their soybean yields will not be equal to last year's yields, which were record high due to nearly ideal weather during the entire growing season (it rained every week).

In 2017/18, farmers in Uruguay planted 1.3 million hectares of soybeans with 1.0 million being full-season soybeans and the remainder being double crop soybeans planted after wheat or barley. This is a higher percentage of full-season soybeans than in previous years as farmers opt for more early soybeans, just like what is happening in Brazil. The soybeans in Uruguay are now flowering and starting to set pods.

The corn in Uruguay is more advanced than the soybeans and the corn is in the midst of pollination. Farmers are concerned that if these conditions persist for more than another week, their corn yields will also start to be impacted.

The average soybean yield in Uruguay is approximately 2,600 kg/ha (37.7 bu/ac) and the average corn yield is approximately 7,000 kg/ha (108 bu/ac). These yields are relatively low compared to neighboring Brazil and Argentina, which is probably due to lower fertility soils and the fact that row crop production in Uruguay is expanding into previous pasture areas. Yields are generally low during the first few years after the conversion from pasture to row crops, but they generally increase in following years.