October 16, 2008


Uruguay's wheat exports seen at record 1 million tones


Uruguay is set to export a record 1 million tonnes of wheat from the 2008-09 crop due to greatly expanded area and good conditions.


Uruguay's farmers planted 460,000 hectares with wheat this season, up from 245,000 a year earlier, according to Blasina & Tardaguila Consultores Asociados analyst Eduardo Blasina.


While the wheat crop in neighboring Argentina suffered under a severe drought, Uruguay's crop fared better and is now in good shape after recent rainfall, Blasina said.


Total wheat output this season is expected to reach 1.3 million to 1.4 million tonnes, he said.


Soy planting is also close to kicking off, with the area seen rising to 500,000 hectares, up sharply from 360,000 last season.


While there are concerns that a recent drop in international soy prices may cause some farmers to turn away from soy, many soy-growing seed pools have already entered into land rental agreements and so will have to go ahead and plant anyway, Blasina said.


While Uruguay enjoys solid demand for its soy from China and Europe, higher profitability may see some land shifted to rice and sorghum.


Uruguay is expected to sharply increase agricultural output and exports this season, according to Uruguay's Office of Agricultural Planning and Policy (OPYPA).


The area planted during the 2008-09 crop year is expected to be the largest in the last 20 years. Yields are also expected to be higher this season due to challenging weather conditions in the 2007-08 crop year, according to the OPYPA.


OPYPA sees barley production rising 55 percent, wheat up 50 percent, sunflower seeds up 33 percent, corn up 31 percent and soy production up over 30 percent.

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