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January 17, 2017

More Flooding Rains in Argentina

Over the weekend, there were more heavy rains in central Argentina making the existing saturated conditions even worse. It is hard to judge the extent of the flooding, but needless to say it is probably approaching, or is worse than what we saw last April. Several weeks ago, I estimated that maybe one million hectares of soybeans may have been lost, then a week later I adjusted my estimate to 600,000 hectares lost. Now with the recent rains, we need to increase the amount of lost soybean acreage. This is just a guess, but the amount of soybean hectares impacted might be in the range of 2,000,000 hectares and counting, or approximately10% or more.

The lost hectares are some of the most productive in Argentina and once the area dries out, it will be too late to do any replanting. Therefore, the hectares that are currently flooded will probably be a complete loss. The soybeans will be impacted more than the corn because the soybeans are shorter and more susceptible to flooding. There will be corn losses as well, but not as much because the earlier planted corn is full stature and past pollination and into grain filling.

Even before the recent weekend rains, the Minister of Agriculture for Argentina estimated that there are approximately 2,000,000 hectares that are waterlogged in the provinces of Cordoba, Santa Fe, northern Buenos Aires, and Entre Rios. The Minister of Agricultural for the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, Luis Contigiani, estimated that the flooding has impacted 948,000 hectares in central Santa Fe. There are reports that he now thinks that 2,000,000 hectares may have been impacted in Santa Fe alone!! The crops impacted the most have been soybeans, corn, and sunflowers. The weekend rains are being called a "water bomb."

The estimates for the 2016/17 Argentine soybean production are declining to some as low as 50-51 million tons. The corn estimates are also declining as well. It is very difficult to judge flood loses while the event is still ongoing. Even if a part of the field is not under water, the soil is saturated, which could lead to a lack of oxygen in the root zone causing the plant to eventually die. These conditions will also led to more diseases as well.

The problem for the corn is not as bad as it is for the soybeans. The corn in the area of the flooding is taller in stature and much of the later planted corn is grown in northern Argentina which is outside of the major flood areas. In the flooded areas there will be some corn ready for harvest at any time, so continued wet weather could delay the start of the early corn harvest especially in the flooded areas.