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May 16, 2018

Argentina's Soybeans Negatively Impacted by Wet Weather

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

The recent period of wet weather in Argentina seems to be ending. The forecast is calling for some rain this week, but then much dryer weather next week and the week after. The harvest pace should pick up this week after several weeks of very slow harvesting.

Wet weather last week continued to delay the soybean harvesting in Argentina. As of late last week, the soybeans were 66% harvested according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. That represented an advance of only 5% for the week. In the core production areas, some of the soybeans are up to 95% harvested. In the southern locations, the soybean harvest is 20-40% complete while it is 35-50% complete in the far northern locations.

Even though the Grain Exchange left their soybean estimate unchanged last week at 38.0 million tons, they stated that the excessive rainfall has negatively impacted 5.7 million hectares of soybeans and that it is very probable that once the losses become clearer, they will adjust downward their crop estimate. They are currently estimating the yield of the soybeans harvested thus far at 2,300 kg/ha (34.0 bu/ac), which is down 0.6 bu/ac from last week and the fourth week in a row that the yield has declined.

The Rosario Grain Exchange stated that 3 million hectares of soybeans have been impacted by 3-4 weeks of nearly constant wet weather and high temperatures which resulted in pods splitting open, soybeans sprouting in the pods, light weight seed, and moldy seed. They estimate that this is impacting approximately 18% of the soybean acreage in Argentina. They stated that it is definitely having a negative impact on production, but that it was too early to determine how much. They said that some fields will need 10 days of sun and wind before the harvest can resume. They are currently estimating the production at 37.0 million tons.

How much damage the wet weather has caused for the soybean crop won't be fully known until the combines can finish the harvest. Soybean losses can be very substantial in South America when mature soybeans are exposed to weeks of wet weather and high temperatures. In a worst case scenario, sprouting in the pods can result in nearly a complete loss.