January 10, 2018

Continued Dryness in Argentina remains a Concern

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

In the latest bulletin from the Office of Agricultural Risk Assessment (ORA), the Ministry of Agriculture in Argentina indicated that the areas of moisture deficits in Argentina are continuing to expand. Only in the core production region and in southeastern Buenos Aires is the soil moisture considered adequate. This is yet another example of how the weather remains problematic, especially across the northern sections of the country as well as in north-central Buenos Aires province.

Argentina Soybeans - The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated late last week that 87.5% of the soybeans had been planted. Soybean planting continued in the central part of the country, but it was slow in northern Argentine due to dry topsoil conditions. There are still approximately 2.25 million hectares of soybeans left to plant, principally in the northern regions of Argentine. Approximately 75% of the soybeans left to plant are in northern Argentina with the remaining 25% in central and southern Argentina.

In central locations, the soybeans are 98-99% planted with 80-98% planted in southern locations and 25-30% planted in far northern locations. The northern locations have 2-3 weeks left in the planting window. Therefore, approximately three quarters of the soybeans in northern Argentina will get planted just before the planting window closes.

The full-season soybeans are in vegetative development or flowering with a few percent (2.6%) starting to set pods. The full-season soybeans are rated 9% poor, 38% fair, and 52% good. The soil moisture situation for the full-season soybeans is 27% poor, 61% favorable, and 11% optimum.

In central and southern Argentina the remaining unplanted soybeans are primarily double crop soybeans following wheat or barley. The second crop soybeans are estimated to be 78.5% planted. In the hardest hit areas of north-central Buenos Aires province, 12% of the soybeans are rated as average to poor with a lot of moisture stress and flower abortion being reported.

Argentina Corn - The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange is reporting that 78% of the corn in Argentina was planted as of late last week. In the central part of the country, the corn planting is 97-100%, while 95-97% of the corn is planted in southern location and only 5-15% is planted in far northern Argentina. There is still 1.2 million hectares of corn left to plant in Argentina with approximately 900,000 hectares left to plant in northern Argentina. The northern areas continue to be the driest and that is where the corn planting is the most delayed.

There is no "drop dead" date for planting corn in northern Argentina, but essentially the ideal corn planting window has already closed. Farmers will continue to try to plant their corn for another two weeks or so, but there is the possibility that not all the intended corn acreage in Argentina will actually get planted. It is going to depend on the rainfall. If it rains, they will plant, if it stays dry, they may not have the opportunity to plant.

The early planted corn is mostly pollinated and into early grain development. Some extremely early planted corn has already reached physiological maturity. The condition of the early corn is 11% very poor, 21% poor, 34% fair, 30% good, and 3% excellent. The soil moisture situation for the early corn is 36% poor, 56% favorable, and 7% optimum.

In north-central Buenos Aires province, 70% of the corn is rated as average to poor. In the hardest hit areas, the corn is short, may not have even pollinated and if it did pollinate, the ears are small with poor quality grain. Yield losses are expected to be at least 50% in the worst areas.