February 19, 2004


Argentina 2003-04 Corn Output Seen At 12.1 Million MT
Argentina's 2003-04 corn area is expected to decline 7.1% from a year ago after the Agriculture Secretariat lowered its estimate for 2003-04 corn area to 2.865 million hectares from 2.87 million.
The main reason for the decline was a lack of rainfall in the corn region, which until the end of last year experienced a prolonged drought.
In 2002-03, farmers planted 3.084 million hectares. Of this amount, only 2.3 million hectares were used to produce corn for sale in the commercial circuit.
The Secretariat estimated total 2003-04 corn production at 12.1 million tons.
The USDA has forecast 2003-04 production similarly at 12.5 million tons.
Argentina was the world's No. 2 corn exporter in 2002.
The country lost this ranking to China in 2003, but local analysts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture believe lower Chinese exports in 2004 will push Argentina back into the No. 2 position this year.
Planting of the 2003-04 crop was more than 99% done by Friday, according to the Secretariat.

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