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March 1, 2018

92% of Farmers in Argentina Expect Below Average Yields

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

In many areas of Argentina, the 2017/18 growing season started off last September and October with heavy rainfall and localized flooding, but the weather changed late last year and in early 2018. The weather went from one extreme to the other, from excessively wet to one of the driest periods in recent decades.

The National Meteorological Service of Argentina (SMN) indicated that during the months of January and February, there were rainfall deficits of 100 mm to 300 mm (4 to 12 inches) in many of the primary production regions of Argentina. In fact, February will go into the books as probably the driest February in Argentina since 1980.

According to a survey conducted by Agriculture Radio and reported by Noticias Agricolas, 92% of the production areas of Argentina are expecting below normal yields of at least 15% to 20% or more. The yield loses are expected to increase the longer it stays dry in Argentina. The respondents indicated that 67% of their soil moisture is short to very short with only 33% indicating average soil moisture.

Soil moisture is adequate in only the far northern sections of Argentina along the border with Paraguay. Some of the driest areas in Argentina are prime production areas with the most productive soils in the country such as: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, and La Pampa. In the hardest hit areas, some farmers have only received 15% of their normal rainfall this growing season.

Any crop planted early in Argentina is faring better than the later planted crops such as double crop soybeans and late planted corn. The earlier planted crops at least had a relatively good start to the growing season, whereas the later planted crops have been confronted by adverse weather ever since they were planted.

The majority of soybeans in Argentina are now filling pods, so the next several weeks will be critical for soybean yields. The early planted corn is generally maturing, but the later planted corn is still in the critical pollinating and grain filling periods.