November 24, 2008

Frost adds to Argentina wheat woes


Frost across much of the farm belt this week will reduce wheat yields further in many areas and added to dryness problems, the Agriculture Secretariat said in its weekly crop report Friday (November 21).


Conditions vary widely, with some fields developing well and others very poorly due to severe drought earlier in the season and continued insufficient rainfall.


On Thursday, the Secretariat forecast wheat output of 10.1 tonnes, compared to the 9.5 million to 11 million tonnes forecast a month earlier.


Dry weather continues to slow soy planting, with farmers planting 42 percent of the area seen going to soy as of November 20, down from 45 percent at this point last year, the Secretariat said.


Area is seen at a record 18 million hectares this season.


Drought earlier in the year saw wheat area fall sharply, and the higher profits with soy relative to corn and sunflower seeds is spurring the shift to soy this season.


The corn crop is starting to show signs of stress in many areas due to insufficient rainfall, the Exchange said. The frost affected the crop in many parts of Buenos Aires Province, and rainfall is needed over the next week for many of those fields to recover.


As of November 20, farmers had planted 72 percent of the forecast 3.34 million hectares seen going to corn, down from 80 percent at this point last season, according to the Secretariat.


Farmers have planted 78 percent of the 2.2 million hectares expected to be sown with sunflower seeds this season, down from 86 percent at this point last year.


The developing crop is struggling in many areas due to insufficient rainfall, according to the Secretariat.

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