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January 31, 2018

Hot and Dry Conditions could impact Crops in Argentina

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

Argentina Soybeans - The rainfall in Argentina over the weekend was disappointing across central and southern Argentina. There were some isolated areas where farmers received a good rain, but for the most part, Buenos Aires and La Pampa were mostly dry with limited coverage in Santa Fe and Cordoba. There were abundant rains across northern Argentina with some areas probably getting too much rain. The forecast for this week does not look favorable with mostly hot and dry conditions predicted for most of central and southern Argentina.

The soybean planting is essentially complete at 98.7% and the crop is now entering the more critical phases of pod setting and pod filling. The forecast is worrisome especially for the more advanced soybeans. You can never get too negative on soybeans too early, but if this hot and dry forecast verifies, it could deplete the soil moisture just when the crop needs the moisture the most.

Right now, I would say the earlier planted soybeans in Argentina would be the equivalent of late-July or early August in the U.S. The later planted soybeans would be the equivalent of early to mid-July in the U.S.

I think the current forecast is very worrisome. Up until now, the crop has generally been relying on subsoil moisture and the occasional scattered showers, but the subsoil moisture is going to be depleted if the current forecast verifies, especially in the central and southern production locations.

Argentina Corn - Once again, the latest rainfall episode ended up being disappointing especially in the central and southern locations. I think the province probably most at risk is Buenos Aires where the rainfall has been very irregular.

The corn crop in Argentina is 92.4% planted according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. Nearly all the corn left to plant is in northern Argentina, which has received ample rainfall over the last few weeks. In fact, some areas probably got too much rain over the last two weeks.

The corn situation in Argentina is difficult to summarize this year because the crop development is so spread out. While some farmers are still trying to plant their corn, other farmers are harvesting their corn. The early planted corn is equivalent to what the U.S. crop would be in late August or early September. The later planted corn would probably be equivalent to early July here in the U.S. But as I mentioned, they are still planting corn in northern Argentina.

Some of the early corn yields in eastern Argentina are disappointing due to hot and dry conditions during December when the crop was pollinating and filling grain. Currently, the majority of the later planted crop is still rated in good condition, but I expect the condition to decline as the crop moves into its peak water demand and the weather remains hot and dry.

A lot of the later planted corn will move into pre-pollination and pollination as the temperatures increase and the soil moisture declines, which is not a good combination.