December 30, 2008


Dry weather hurting Argentina's grain crops


Argentina's corn, soy and wheat crops are hurting across much of the farm belt, with significant rainfall needed to prevent drought damage, the Agriculture Secretariat of Argentina said in its weekly crop report Monday (Dec 29).


Scattered showers helped the corn and soy crop in many areas, but conditions among the developing corn crop also vary widely.


Some corn fields are starting to suffer irreparable damage due to the continued dryness and more rainfall is needed soon to restore sufficient soil moisture levels, the Secretariat said.


As of December 25, farmers had planted 87 percent of the forecast 3.34 million hectares seen going to corn, down from 88 percent at this point last season, according to the Secretariat.


As of December 25, farmers had planted 80 percent of the area seen going to soy, up from 78 percent at this point last year. Soy acreage is seen at a record 17.8 million hectares this season.


The wheat harvest is nearing its end, with poor yields and quality due to drought through much of the growing season and a late frost, the Secretariat said.


In the important wheat growing belt in southern Buenos Aires province near Bahia Blanca, yields are averaging a dismal 0.65 tonnes per hectare with poor grain quality, the Secretariat said.


Farmers had harvested 87 percent of the 2007-08 wheat crop as of December 25, up 17 percent from last season.


Earlier this month, the Secretariat cut its forecast for wheat output by 1.1 million tonnes to 9 million tonnes. That is down sharply from the 16 million tonnes grown last season.

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