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Commodity Intelligence Report
March 18, 2013

Argentine Weather for Summer Crops Continues to Surprise

With frost threats coming early during this 2012-2013 season, summer crops that were planted late in Argentina are at risk as they are only beginning to be harvested. For the third time during the week of March 10-16, 2013, the temperatures dipped near the freezing mark.  No freezes were officially reported, but there were lows to 1oC (34oF) at Tandil and Azul within the province of Buenos Aires. Normally, the freeze date in southern Buenos Aires province is into May. Usually, freezing temperatures are not seen until mid-May in the northwestern and central regions where much of the core soybean and corn crops are grown.

The season started with heavy rains that slowed planting of soy and corn, and later in January through mid-February a long dry period developed. Over 50 percent of the corn crop was planted later than normally is seen for the crop.  Light rains in late February were supplemented with even better rains at the start of March, bringing some soil moisture to fields in the central regions of soy and corn, delaying early harvest to early-maturing corn. With just under 10 percent of the corn crop (about 313 thousand hectares) harvested through the first week of March, combines sat idle while fields dried from the rain.   Very early corn at the end of February came in with low yields, under 7 tons per hectare but more recent harvests have increased the average to 8 tons per hectare, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, making the grain volume harvest total now at the beginning of the season at around 2.5 million tons.

Recent rains have helped the late-planted corn and soy in Argentina, and a large corn crop is expected this season at 26.5 million-ton volume for the year over an estimated 3.5 million hectares planted. The soybean crop is expected to pull in 51.5 million tons from the 19.35 million hectares planted this season. The portion of crops planted late this season are at risk if an early frost occurs. (For additional information, contact Dr. Denise McWilliams, 202-720-0107.)

Figure 1. Heavy rains into December 2012, left some area in Argentina with flooded fields and late-planted summer crops.

Figure 2. Although some of the fields had dried out that earlier had been flooded, some areas were left unplanted or were very late in being seeded.

Figure 3. Argentine corn production by delegation as estimated from planting in 2009/2010.

Figure 4. Argentine soybean production by delegation as estimated from the area during 2009/2010.


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Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.

For more information contact Denise McWilliams | Denise | (202) 720-0107
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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