January 27, 2004



Argentina's 2003-04 Corn 99.6% Planted


Argentina had planted 99.6% of the 2003-04 corn crop as of January 24, up from 98.9% a week ago, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said.


The estimated planted area of commercially tradable corn at 2.23 million hectares, which is up slightly from 2.2 million the previous week. Still, estimated area is down from 2.4 million hectares a year earlier.


As of Saturday, farmers had planted 2,221,425 million hectares of 2003-04 corn, according to the exchange.


Total area, including corn used for feed, will not exceed 2.75 million hectares, the exchange has said in previous reports. This would be a decline of about 10% from the previous year, according to exchange data.


Though the crop is developing well in many areas, many hectares are still suffering from a lack of moisture earlier this year. If climatic conditions remain the same in the weeks ahead, total production will probably amount to 12.2 million metric tons, the exchange said.


If conditions improve, output could rise to as high as 12.9 million tons.


The Agriculture Secretariat expects 2003-04 seeded area to total 2.796 million hectares. In 2002-03, Argentina planted 3.092 million hectares of corn and produced 15 million tons of the grain, Secretariat data show.


According to the exchange, Argentina produced 15.25 million tons of corn last year.


The U.S. Department has estimated 2003-04 corn production at 12.5 million tons.




Meanwhile, the exchange said farmers had planted 99.5% of the 2003-04 soybean crop by Saturday.


This is up from 99% a week ago. The exchange did not say how the pace of planting compares with that of the previous year.


Area is seen at a record 13.95 million hectares.


Last month, the exchange estimated that 2003-04 soybean production will jump 1.1 million tons from a year ago, putting output at about 36.4 million tons. Last year, farmers planted 12.8 million hectares and produced 35.27 million tons of soybeans, according to the exchange.


The USDA estimates 2003-04 soybean production at 36.5 million tons.


Some 13,879,500 hectares had been planted by Saturday.

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