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November 22, 2017

Dry Weather in Argentina Starting to be a Concern

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

With the summer rains now becoming more abundant in central Brazil, the weather focus in South America has shifted to Argentina, at least for the time being. After nearly two years of very wet weather, Argentina is starting off the 2017/18 growing season with concerns about dry weather.

A dryer pattern has developed in central and northern Argentina especially in the provinces of Cordoba, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, and northern Buenos Aires. The weather has also been cooler than normal and in fact, the temperatures were in the 30's this past weekend in parts of Buenos Aires. The forecast for this week looks like more of the same - dryer than normal conditions and normal to below normal temperatures.

A La Nina is developing in the Pacific Oceans, but it is hard to say if the current dry pattern is the result of the La Nina. A typical La Nina pattern results in dryer than normal summer weather in southern Brazil and northern Argentina. Maybe this is the start of that pattern in Argentina - stay tuned.

The potential impact of a dryer than normal summer in Argentina would probably be more important for the corn crop than for the soybean crop because corn is more sensitive to moisture stress especially during pollination and early grain filling.

The corn crop in Argentina is planted in two phases. The first phase of planting occurs during September and October with the second phase of planting occurring during December and January. This year, approximately 35% of the corn was planted during the first phase and approximately 60% of the corn will be planted during the second phase. The earlier planted corn will be pollinating during December and January, whereas the later planted corn won't pollinate until mid-February at the earliest. If the current dry pattern persists until mid-December, it could impact the pollination of the early planted corn.

The bulk of the soybeans in Argentina are planted during November and December, so the critical pod filling period for the soybeans will be during February and March. Adverse weather during vegetative development is not that important for soybeans. What is important for soybeans is the weather during pod filling. The soybean planting in Argentina is progressing at a normal pace, but if dry weather persists, the planting pace could start to slow down.