South America Calling

Exchange: Argentina to Reduce Corn Area Next Season

By Alastair Stewart , South America Correspondent

Argentine farmers will reduce corn planted area by nearly 3% in the upcoming 2013-14 season, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said this week.

Excellent yields despite difficult weather conditions last season left Argentines favorably disposed to corn, but the recent decline in international prices, the high cost of planting corn compared with soybeans and the greater weather risk attached to corn versus soybeans will prompt growers to sow less of the grain when the new season starts in 45 days' time, said the exchange.

Total corn area will be 8.8 million acres, which although a reduction on last year, remains 2% higher than the average for the last five years.

Argentina, the world's No. 3 corn exporter, produced a record 24.8 million metric tons in the 2012-13 season, up 15% on the year before.

Last season's average yield of 115.8 bushels per acre was the fourth highest in Argentina's history. An excellent result when you consider the excessive rain across key producing regions early in the season and then almost universal drought in January and February, said the exchange.

One key reason for this strong performance is the growing prevalence of late planting as a defensive measure to reduce the impact of the regular dry spells in January and February. By planting late, farmers lose some yield potential but have been rewarded with more consistent returns.

Last season, up to 40% of the corn crop was planted late, well up from the historical norm of 20%.

(AG/ES)

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