It has been a difficult start to the Argentine corn season with a lack of soil moisture in northern and western reaches of the grain belt delaying planting.
The delays are serious enough in Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires provinces for the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange to this week lower its 2013-14 Argentine corn area forecast by 250,000 acres to 8.5 million acres.
Rain did fall across central Argentina last week but not in sufficient volume to offset the water deficit, the exchange said in a weekly report.
The focus of the area reduction will be mid-north and south Cordoba and north, central and western Buenos Aires, said the report.
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Extreme weather also impeded corn planting last year, although the problem that time was excessive rain and widespread flooding.
The exchange estimates 8% of the projected corn area had been planted as of Thursday, some nine percentage points behind progress at the same point one year ago.
The delays caused by a very dry August and September have prompted some farmers in Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires to put off planting until November and December.
They do this rather than plant corn in late October to ensure the crop is not in sensitive stages of development in January, a month that is notorious for its dry spells.
Planting is most advanced in Entre Rios province, where 45.5% of projected area has already been sown.
Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange forecasts corn planted area will fall 6% in 2013-14 amid a switch to soybeans, which do not carry the same export restrictions as corn and better retain value, which is of great importance in Argentina's extremely unstable economy.
Alastair Stewart can be reached at Alastair.firstname.lastname@example.org
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