September 8, 2008


Argentina finishes wheat planting; conditions poor



Argentina wrapped up 2007-08 wheat planting this week, with final area coming in at 4.48 million hectares, down 70,000 hectares from last week's forecast, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said in its weekly crop report Friday (September 5).


The area, which is the smallest going to wheat in 34 years, is 18.5 percent less than last season.


In addition, the crop continues to struggle with dry weather, which is hindering development and will likely reduce future yields.


Rainfall is not expected next week, but normal moisture levels should return later this month, the exchange said.


Farmers have planted 1.8 percent of the 2.85 million hectares seen going to corn this season.


Corn planting advanced just 0.4 percentage point this week as farmers hesitated to put seeds in the ground due to the continued dry weather, the exchange said.


The area going to commercial-grade corn is expected to fall 5 percent from last season, according to the exchange.


Last month, the Agriculture Secretariat released its first estimate of corn planting, forecasting a 5 percent to 10 percent drop to between 3.6 million and 3.8 million hectares. The Secretariat's forecast includes all corn production, not just commercial-grade.


Meanwhile, sunseed planting made little progress this week due to the continued dry weather, the exchange said.


To date, 7.8 percent of the forecast 2.84 million hectares have been planted, according to the exchange.


Planting area is seen up 5 percent from last season, but the forecast may be lowered if dry weather continues over the coming weeks, the exchange said.

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