December 15, 2008

Argentina wheat yields lower due to drought, frost

Argentina's 2008-09 wheat crop is showing a wide variety of conditions, with the crop suffering from early drought, frost and hailstorms in many areas, the Agriculture Secretariat said in its weekly crop report Friday (December 12).


In the Bragado district of Buenos Aires province, yields have averaged just 2.8 tonnes per hectare due to the drought and frost on November 15, the Secretariat said.


Argentina's farmers had harvested 53 percent of the 2007-08 wheat crop as of Dec. 11, 10 percentage points ahead of the harvest pace last season.


The Secretariat forecasts wheat output of 10.1 tonnes, down sharply from the 16 million tonnes grown last season.


Soy planting progressed at a rapid pace across much of the farm belt this week.


As of December 11, farmers had planted 70 percent of the area seen going to soy, up from 64 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.


As of December 11, farmers had planted 80 percent of the forecast 3.34 million hectares seen going to corn, down from 84 percent at this point last season, according to the Secretariat.


Farmers have planted 89 percent of the 2.2 million hectares expected to be sown with sunflower seeds this season, down from 97 percent at this point last year.

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