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April 26, 2018

Paraguay Farmers waiting for improved Moisture to Plant Wheat

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

Farmers around the world are always sensitive to the prices paid for their products and they gravitate toward the crops that can generate the greatest returns. That certainly has been the case in Paraguay in 2017/18 when farmers put much more efforts in increasing their soybean production at the expense of corn and sunflowers. That may not be the case though for wheat.

Current wheat prices in Paraguay are strong due to the lowest stocks in five years and farmers are expected to increase their wheat acreage by 8% in response to the improved prices according to the consulting service Agridatos. They feel the 2018 Paraguay wheat production will be approximately 1.0 million tons.

This is the time of the year for farmers in Paraguay to start planting their winter wheat, but in many areas it has not rained in over three weeks and farmers are waiting for improved soil moisture before the plant their wheat. There is a little more than a month left in the planting window.

Even with the lower stocks, Paraguay is still exporting wheat to neighboring Brazil. All the wheat exports during the first half of April went to Brazil via truck. During the first half of April there were no Paraguayan export wheat shipments out of ports in either Argentina or Uruguay.

Thus far in 2018, wheat exports have totaled 21,976 tons, which is a decline of 79% compared to the 136,448 tons exported during the same period in 2017.

Not everyone is as confident concerning the 2018 wheat production in Paraguay. The Paraguayan Grain and Oilseed Merchandizers and Exporters Association (Capeco) is estimating that farmers in Paraguay will plant 428,000 hectares of wheat in 2018, which is down from the 493,900 hectares planted last year. The wheat production this year is expected to be 700,000 tons compared to the 1.28 million tons produced last year. Wheat acreage in Paraguay topped out in 2014/15 at 631, 600 hectares with a production of more than 1.5 million tons.