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October 2, 2019

2019/20 Argentina Corn 16% Planted, very few Soybeans Planted

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

Argentina Soybeans - There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the weather and the crop acreages in Argentina resulting in a very wide range in estimates for both the soybean and corn crops. We should get more clarity over the next several weeks as farmers proceed with their spring planting.

There have been some limited showers in Argentina mainly in the central and eastern part of the country. In the more western production areas, it continues to be mostly dry. The forecast is calling for additional chances of rainfall mainly in the eastern areas.

Generally, farmers in Argentina start planting their soybeans in October. Farmers plant their soybeans after they finish corn planting, so there may be a few fields of soybeans planted in central Santa Fe and Entre Rios where the corn planting is more advanced. Soybean planting in Argentina should reach 50% in early December and it should be complete by about mid-January.

Argentina Corn - There are two immediate concerns for the Argentine corn crop. The first concern is dry weather especially in the western and southern production areas. The weather has been OK in the central and eastern areas where most of the early corn planting has occurred. The forecast is calling for scattered showers in the central and eastern areas, but continued dry weather in the western and southern areas. In the dryer areas, farmers will be reluctant to plant corn.

The other concern for corn farmers is economic and political. Corn is much more expensive to plant than soybeans. Farmers in Argentina have been planting more corn in recent years due to the elimination of export taxes on corn and the desire for more balanced crop rotations. The increase in corn acreage may not occur this year due to the economic situation in the country where credit is tight and interest rates are "sky-high."

Politics may also be an impediment to corn acreage. The opposition Peronist Party candidate, Alberto Fernandez and his vice presidential running mate Mrs. Kirchner, are favored to win the presidential election on October 27th. If they assume power, there could be a return of increased export taxes and market intervention especially in the corn export market. In light of that, farmers may opt for the safer and cheaper crop of soybeans.

According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, farmers had planted 15.9% of their intended corn crop as of late last week. This represented an advance of approximately 10% from the prior week. The majority of the planting has been in the core production regions where the corn is 50-60% planted. The province of Entre Rios is also an area where about 45% of the corn has been planted.

Farmers in Argentina generally plant their corn in two phases. For the first phase, they generally start planting in September and finish planting about the end of October. Approximately 40-45% of the corn is planted during this first phase. Not much corn is planted during the month of November, maybe 1-2% per week. They do not like to plant corn during November because it would pollinate during December, which can be the hottest and driest period of the growing season.

The second phase of planting starts in December and continues through January. As a result, the entire corn planting process in Argentina extends for about 5 months. Corn planting in Argentina should reach 50% in mid-December and it should be complete by late January.