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Drought Damage Limits Recovery for Argentine Soybean Production

30 March 2012
USDA ERS

ARGENTINA - In contrast to southern Brazil and Paraguay, the ominous climatic situation in Argentina has suddenly stabilised and may even let a part of the soybean crop to recover.

After several months of below-average rainfall, February rains were nearly double the usual amount for the main production region (which encompasses Cordoba, southern Santa Fe, Entre Rios, and northern Buenos Aires). The region has had a noticeable improvement in topsoil moisture for soybeans, particularly for the second crop that was planted following the winter wheat harvest.

However, despite a reversal of the Argentine weather pattern, the damage to first-crop soybeans prior to the return of rainfall in January was already considerable. Also, it is still very dry in minor production regions of north and northwestern Argentina and major yield losses appear inevitable there.

Based on poorer yields for these areas, USDA lowered this month’s 2011/12 forecast of Argentine soybean production by 1.5 million tons to 46.5 million. Nearly all of that change is seen tightening the level of Argentine soybean stocks next fall to a 3-year low.

According to the Government of Argentina, harvesting of sunflower seed as of March 8 was 38 per cent completed, primarily in the northern part of the country. On an estimated area of 1.88 million hectares, Argentine sunflower seed production is forecast at 3.5 million tons.

This is up from last month’s forecast of 3.2 million tons due to a slightly better yield forecast. Sunflowerseed yields in the northern part of the country have largely escaped damage from the drought. The deep tap root of the sunflower plant makes it better able to reach subsoil moisture and makes the plant much more drought-resistant than soybeans and other crops.

Recent rains will also help boost yields for the main crop yet to be harvested in southern Buenos Aires and La Pampa, where more than three-fourths of the country’s total sunflower seed area is grown. The additional crop supplies are expected to boost the 2011/12 sunflower seed crush to 3.45 million tons.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

March 2012

TheCropSite News Desk



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