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April 24, 2019

Crop Yields in Argentina Continue to Exceed Expectations

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Argentina Soybeans - Early soybean yields in Argentina continue to set records, but the yields are expected to decline as the harvest moves into areas of lower productivity.

Good weather last week in Argentina allowed for rapid harvest progress, especially for the soybeans. The soybean crop in Argentina was 34% harvested in the middle of last week. This represented an advance of 17% for the week, but it is still 5.5% behind last year's pace. In the core production areas of central Argentina, the soybeans were 55-70% harvested. The harvest pace is more erratic in southern Argentina varying from 5% to 45% harvested. Generally, 10% or less of the soybeans have been harvested in far northern Argentina.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange keeps a running total of the soybean yields harvested thus far and last week the average yield was 4,020 kg/ha (59.4 bu/ac), which is down 0.3 bu/ac from the prior week. This is the highest average yield for this point in the harvest in 17 years.

The early planted soybeans are 46% harvested and the later planted soybeans are 6.8% harvested. Slightly over 50% of the soybeans harvested thus far have been from the core production areas of central Argentina, which are the most productive areas of Argentina. In the northern core region, more than two thirds of the soybeans have been harvested with an average yield of 4,480 kg/ha (66.3 bu/ac), which is 5% more than the previous record set in 2014/15 of 4,260 kg/ha (63.0 bu/ac).

The average soybean yields will not stay at these elevated levels as the harvest progresses into traditional lower yielding locations. The early yields of the later planted soybeans (generally double crop) are lower but still good in the range of 3,310 kg/ha (48.9 bu/ac).

In their weekly report, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange rated the soybeans at 9.3% poor to very poor and 54.5% good to excellent, which was a slight improvement from the prior week. The soil moisture for the soybeans was rated at 14.0% short to very short and 35.6% optimum to surplus, which was about unchanged from the prior week. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange left their soybean estimate unchanged last week at 55.0 million tons.

Argentina Corn - Good weather last week in Argentina allowed farmers to make progress harvesting their crops, but they focused more on the soybean harvest instead of the corn harvest. The corn crop in Argentina was 23.3% harvested as of the middle of last week with approximately 60-70% of the corn harvested in the core production areas, while approximately 10-15% was harvested in southern Argentina and 0% harvested in far northern Argentina. The overall corn harvest in Argentina advanced 2.1% last week. The early planted corn was 43% harvested and the later planted corn was 25% mature.

Corn yields continue to surpass earlier expectations with many above 11,000 kg/ha (169 bu/ac). In the northern core area the average yield is a record 11,000 kg/ha (169.4 bu/ac). Corn yields in the southern core area were also at record levels. These two areas are the most productive in Argentina and they represent more than 50% of the corn harvested thus far. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange reported that their running corn yield thus far is 9,760 kg/ha (150.3 bu/ac) which is down 0.9 bu/ac from the prior week.

Lower corn yields in the range of 5,400 kg/ha (83.1 bu/ac) are being reported from southern La Pampa and southwestern Buenos Aires.

In their weekly report, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange rated the 2018/19 corn crop at 8.3% poor to very poor and 55.2% good to excellent, which is an improvement from the prior week. The soil moisture for the corn is rated 14.2% short to very short and 33.9% optimum to surplus, which is an improvement from the prior week. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange left their corn estimate unchanged last week at 46.0 million tons.