October 12, 2011


Rains in Argentina help restart corn planting



The recent continues rain in Argentina's central agricultural areas have helped restart corn plantings that had been hindered by dryness in September, a weather specialist said Tuesday (Oct 11).


Argentina is the world's No. two corn supplier after the US, gathering a record harvest of 22.9 million tonnes in the 2010/11 crop season, according to the government's most recent estimate.


But dry soils have slowed farmers' progress and the tempo of planting is 16.6 percentage points behind last season's pace.


Stella Carballo, a weather specialist at the state-run National Institute of Agricultural Technology, or INTA said that with the rains that have fallen, everybody can plant.


She added that in Buenos Aires province the rains were very good, between 40 millimetres (1.6 inches) and 100 millimetres in some places.


Through Thursday, growers had sown 23.7% of the 3.5 million hectares (8.6 million acres) slotted for commercial-use corn, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said last week.


Carballo said that there's going to be an increase in the frequency of showers in October and November.


Argentina could gather a record crop of about 30 million tonnes of corn in the 2011/12 season and between 52-53 million tonnes of soy, an Agriculture Ministry official said.


Buenos Aires is Argentina's top producing province for corn, wheat and soy.


The Agriculture Ministry forecasts 2011/12 wheat production at between 11-13 million tonnes, down from 14.7 million tonnes in the prior season because of several months of scant rainfall in important growing areas.


The wheat areas worst hit by earlier dryness were in western Buenos Aires, southern and central Santa Fe, southern Cordoba and parts of La Pampa province.


The new, welcome moisture will also allow farmers to lay a good foundation for soy seeding, which is set to start this month in the world's No. three soy-exporting nation.