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November 22, 2016

Argentina Planting Progress - Soybeans 24%, Corn 40%

Argentine Soybeans - Argentina has gotten off to a sub-par start and I am concerned about the dryer than normal weather pattern setting up in Argentina.

Farmers in Argentina took advantage of the improved weather last week to advance their soybean planting by 13% to 24.2% complete compared to 32% last year and 33% average. Of the soybeans planted thus far in Argentina, 60% are in the northern core and southern core region of Argentina. In the northern core region, the soybeans are 50% planted compared to 58% last year and in the southern corn region, the soybeans are 47% planted.

Soybean planting in the southwestern areas of Argentina has been slow due to previously wet conditions. In western Buenos Aires and northern La Pampa the soybeans are 14.5% planted compared to 36% last year. In contrast, it has been very dry in southeastern Buenos Aires. In fact, there were reports of scattered light frost late last week in southeastern Buenos Aires province.

The forecast is for a dryer weather pattern to move into Argentina. Short-term dryness is probably beneficial because it would allow for a more rapid planting of the spring crops, but the dryness could quickly turn into a problem. I would estimate that if the dryness persists for another week, there could start to be a concern. It has not been hot and dry in Argentina, it has been cool and dry and the cool temperatures have helped to conserve the soil moisture.

We all know that soybeans can have a problematic start to the growing season but still end up with a good yield if the weather during the pod filling phase is favorable. Therefore, while I am concerned about the dryer pattern in Argentina, the growing season is just getting started and we should not get too negative at this point because the vast majority of the growing season is still ahead of us.

Argentine Corn - I am also concerned how the dryer weather in Argentina could impact the corn crop and the fact that over half of the corn will be planted late in Argentina.

Corn planting in Argentina only advanced 0.5% over the past week and it is now stands at 40.3% compared to 37% last year and 48% average. It is not unusual for farmers in Argentina to take a break from corn planting during the month of November, but the planting is already behind schedule and probably less than 45% of the crop will be planted by the end of November. Therefore, more than half of Argentina's corn crop will be planted during the second phase of planting. In past years, the later planted corn generally did fine, but my concern is that the later planted corn could be impacted by the dryer weather pattern developing in Argentina.

In the core production areas, the corn is 85% planted while the southern areas are approximately 40-60% planted and the far northern areas are 0-20% planted. These planting percentages are essentially unchanged from last week. Much of the corn that was planted last week was in southern Buenos Aires and La Pampa where the temperatures were too cold during the month of October for much corn planting.

Most of the corn that has been planted is in vegetative development and rated in good to excellent condition. The recent dryer weather has allowed for much of the surplus moisture to be greatly reduced in northwestern Buenos Aires, northern La Pampa, and southern Cordoba.

My concern in Argentina is that more than half of the corn will be planted during the second phase of planting which will start in early December. It is entirely possible that the later planted corn will do fine, but it is also possible that a La Nina induced dryer weather pattern could negatively impact the later planted corn.