South America Calling

More Rain Takes Edge Off Argentine Farm Festivities

By Alastair Stewart , South America Correspondent

Heavy rainstorms hit Argentina's grain belt in the first half of the week, depositing up to 4 inches on many already-wet parts of Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Santa Fe states.

The rain will further delay planting, which is dramatically behind schedule in a number of waterlogged regions.

However, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange issued a weekly report Thursday that hit a more optimistic note than many have in recent weeks.

For soybeans, it noted that rain will reduce planted area in many regions, including a 148,000-acre drop in southern Cordoba and a 420,000-acre drop in western Buenos Aires.

But these losses will be made up for by extra area in the southeast of Buenos Aires, where rapid wheat harvesting and excellent soil moisture conditions will stimulate soybean planting, said the exchange.

As a result, the exchange maintained its soybean area forecast of 48.7 million acres.

The Buenos Aires number is at the top end of soy crop estimates.

According to the report, the soybean crop is now 80.1% planted, just 0.5 percentage points behind last year.

The outlook has no silver lining for corn, however,

According to the exchange, farmers across various low-lying regions of Buenos Aires have seen corn planting efforts frustrated and, with only 20 days left in the ideal planting window, they may not get a chance.

"There is a great uncertainty among producers in the northern and southern nucleus (the top-producing regions), as also in western Buenos Aires over making the decision to plant corn late," said the report.

As of Thursday, corn farmers had planted 74.7% of their projected 8.4 million hectares for the 2012-13 season, some 5% back on the year before.

(ES)

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