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November 3, 2016

Heavy Rains slow Spring Planting in Argentina

Farmers in Argentina have been struggling with recent wet and cold weather that has slowed down the spring planting. The rains have been the heaviest in western Buenos Aires, northern La Pampa, and southern Cordoba (where these three province meet), which has resulted in localized flooding. There were also heavy rains further north in the province of Corrientes. Local officials feel that there have been 300-500,000 hectares of farmland that have been flooded.

There were probably a few hectares of corn that were flooded out and will need to be replanted, especially in the northern areas. Any wheat that was flooded will suffer significant losses if not a complete loss. Planting of the soybeans in the flooded areas will be delayed for several weeks. It was also colder than normal last week in Argentina with frosts reported in parts of Buenos Aires and La Pampa.

The adverse conditions have slowed the corn planting to a slower than average pace. Farmers in Argentina only managed to plant 1% of their corn crop last week which is now estimated at 36% planted compared to an average of about 41%. The most advanced corn planting is in the core production areas where 80-90% of the corn has been planted. In southern Argentina the corn planting is 20-50%, while in northern Argentina it is 0-15%.

Some of the northwestern areas are too dry to plant and farmers will probably now wait to plant their corn during the second phase of corn planting which will start in early December.

Farmers in Argentina generally do not like to plant corn during the month of November because if they did, the corn would be pollinating during January, which can be the hottest and driest time of the summer. The Argentine corn planting is currently at 36% and it will probably only advance about 2% per week until the end of November. In early December, the farmers will start on the second phase of corn plating which will terminate in late January.

The soybean planting in Argentina has also been slowed by the adverse weather. The Argentine soybean crop is approximately 2-4% planted compared to the average of 6-7%. In the wettest areas, it will take at least ten days of dry weather before the farmers will be able to get into the fields provided there is not additional rainfall. November and December are the two main soybean planting months in Argentina.

The wheat crop in Argentina was 11% harvested as of late last week and early reports are indicating that the yields are highly variable and generally below expectations. In northern Argentina dry weather earlier in the growing season hurt the crop and now there is excessive moisture when the crop is ready for harvest.

There were also frosts recorded in southern Buenos Aires last week. The wheat in the region was heading and filling grain and it remains to be seen how much damage may have occurred. The combination of cold and wet weather is expected to result in lower wheat production. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange is estimating the Argentine wheat crop at 12.5 million tons