February 17, 2004



Argentina's 2003-04 Corn 99% Planted


Argentina's farmers had planted more than 99% of the 2003-04 corn crop, the Agriculture Secretariat said on Monday.


This is unchanged from the previous three weeks.


The Secretariat estimates the size of the 2003-04 corn area 2.869 million hectares, compared with 3.084 million hectares the previous year.


As of Friday, some 2,861,588 hectares had been planted.


The crop is developing well in most areas but needs more rain in the province of Buenos Aires, according to the Secretariat.


High temperatures combined with a lack of abundant rain to slow the evolution of the crop in this area and this will lead to reduced yields unless it rains soon, according to the Secretariat.


Buenos Aires is home to more than 35% of the country's corn production.

The Secretariat's numbers differed from those provided by the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange, whose estimates include planting as of Saturday.


The exchange said a week ago that farmers had finished planting an area that totals 2.23 million hectares. This does not include corn used for feed.


Yields on the corn collected week averaged 7.51 metric tons per hectare, compared with 6.76 tons a year earlier, according to the exchange.


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.


Argentina produced 15 million metric tons of corn in 2002-03, according to the Secretariat.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast 2003-04 corn production at 12.5 million tons.

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