Sep 14, 2017

Wet Weather could Delay Start of Planting in Argentina

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

Central Argentina continues to be in the grips of a very wet weather pattern. Many regions of central Argentina have suffered from numerous episodes of localized flooding and saturated conditions over the past 18 months. Over this past weekend, many regions of Buenos Aires and La Pampa provinces once again received heavy rains leaving farmers to wonder when it will ever end.

The province of Buenos Aires seems to be the hardest hit by the excessive rains. Reuters reported that that the farm group Rural Confederation of Buenos Aires and La Pampa (Carbap) estimates that 28% of the agricultural land in the province of Buenos Aires is suffering from excessive moisture. Buenos Aires province accounted for 33% of the soybean acreage and 25% of the corn acreage in Argentina during the 2016/17 growing season.

The Agricultural Minister of Buenos Aires is already warning that under a worst case scenario, some areas of the province may not be planted at all this growing season. For farmers in western Buenos Aires and eastern La Pampa, this is the second year in a row of excess moisture.

The newspaper La Nacion, is reporting that estimates from various sources indicate that approximately 1.2 million hectares in Buenos Aires are in grave danger from the excessive moisture including 300,000 hectares of wheat, 650,000 hectares of new soybean production, 150,000 hectares of new corn production, and 50,000 hectares of new sunflower production.

Other proviences including eastern Cordoba and southern Santa Fe are also at risk from the excess moisture. These areas of central Argentina are some of the most productive areas of the country, so losses of these hectares could have a significant impact on the country's soybean and corn production.

The flooding in Buenos Aires has made farmers more cautious in their input purchases. The Agrichemical and Seed Distributors Association of Buenos Aires (Cedasaba) is reporting that input sales during August were down 30% compared to last year and their stocks of fertilizers and herbicides are up 25% compared to last year. The lower sales are being attributed to the adverse weather and low commodity prices.

Farmers in Argentina are in the midst of planting their sunflowers and they generally start planting corn in September. Soybean planting generally starts in October, so the month of October could be make-or-break for the province of Buenos Aires. If the weather during October is as wet as September has been, a significant portion of the crop acreage in the province will be at serious risk of not getting planted.