Feb 28, 2022

Wildfires in Argentina Impact National Cattle Herd

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

Wildfires have been raging across northeastern Argentina for several weeks consuming more than 2 million acres. The province of Corrientes has been particularly hard hit with 9% of the province burnt, but the hot and dry conditions have also impacted northern Entre Rios, southern Misiones, parts of Formosa and Chaco. This region is a big cattle ranching area with an estimated 18 million head of cattle, or 35% of Argentina's herd. The province of Corrientes has the second largest cattle herd in Argentina at 5 million head or 10% of Argentina's herd.

The Argentina Minister of Agriculture, Julian Dominguez, visited the region last week and indicated that 1.5 million head of cattle have been directly impacted by the fires and that the situation will have national implications for cattle production. He predicted there will be a massive liquidation of cattle due to lack of pastures and feed and then for the next several years, there will be a shortage of cattle and higher beef prices.

It's not just cattle ranching that is being impacted by the fires. It has also impacted grain, rice, and citrus production and forestry plantations. The fires have also entered the Ibera National Park which is one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands that contains many endangered species.

The governor of Corrientes want's the province to be declared a disaster zone so farmers will be able to postpone tax payments and loan payments. The Minister of Agriculture indicated that farmers will be receiving direct payments and be eligible for low interest disaster loans.