November 4, 2008

Argentina corn in good shape but planting pace slow


Argentina's 2007-08 corn crop is developing well, although the planting pace is well behind what it was at this point a year ago, the Agriculture Secretariat said late Friday (October 31) in its weekly crop report.


Soil-moisture levels are good and the crops in Buenos Aires province which suffered hail damage recently have recovered, the Secretariat said.


As of October 30, farmers had planted 59 percent of the forecast 3.4 million hectares seen going to corn, down from 71 percent at this point last season, according to the Secretariat.


Soy planting made good progress again last week. While conditions are still dry in some areas, particularly in Cordoba province, most of the farm belt has sufficient soil-moisture levels for planting to advance.


The Secretariat estimates that a record 17.8 million to 18.2 million hectares would be planted with soy this season, up from last season's previous record of 16.9 million hectares.


The US Department of Agriculture forecasts 2008-09 soy production at 50.5 million tonnes, up from the previous record of 46.2 million tonnes last season.


Wheat conditions are mixed, with increased moisture levels over the past weeks helping, but early drought has already left its mark on the crop in many areas, and average yields are expected to be low this season.


The Secretariat forecasts wheat output of 9.5 million to 11 million tonnes, down sharply from the 16 million tonnes grown last season.


Farmers have planted 40 percent of the area expected to be sown with sunflower seeds this season, down from 54 percent at this point last year.

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