February 10, 2004



Argentina's 2003-04 Corn Crop Fully Planted


Farmers in Argentina have finished planting the 2003-04 commercially tradable corn crop, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange reported over the weekend.


The exchange estimated planted area of at 2.23 million hectares, which puts area down 7.1% from a year ago.


Some farmers already have begun harvesting the crop, the exchange said.


Farmers have collected 1.4% of the crop, compared with 1.1% a year ago.


Yields on collected corn last week averaged 7.51 metric tons per hectare, compared with 6.76 tons a year earlier. The exchange has estimated an average yield this year of between 6.0 and 6.1 tons/hectare, which would be a decline of about 10% from a year ago.


Given these projected yields, and the condition of the crop elsewhere, the exchange has forecast total 2003-04 output of between 12.6 million and 12.8 million tons.


The Agriculture Secretariat expects 2003-04 seeded area to total 2.796 million hectares and has forecast production at between 12 million and 12.5 million tons.


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 of Agriculture has estimated 2003-04 corn production at 12.5 million tons.




Meanwhile, the exchange said farmers had planted 99.8% of the 2003-04 soybean crop by Saturday.


This is up from 99.7% 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.


In Buenos Aires, parts of Cordoba, and Santa Fe provinces, the crop is in good condition, having benefited from recent rainfall, and is developing normally, the exchange said.


"In the national context, we will have to wait and see if the climate consolidates the recuperation of the crop so it can produce good yields during the harvest," the exchange said.


In December, the exchange estimated that 2003-04 soybean production will jump 1.1 million metric 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 13,903,000 hectares had been planted by Saturday.

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