After heavy deluges across the heart of Argentina's wheat belt in August, the rains have eased, allowing the crop to recover.
With the water tables declining in the southern heartlands, crops are looking better as they move through tillering, stated the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange. In the north, where the rains were lighter, crops are in good condition as they enter the heading stages.
The exchange estimated that floods have caused the loss of 210,000 acres in the worst-affected areas, equivalent to 2.3% of the projected 9.1 million acres planted this year. That figure will likely increase as the crop progresses though, with the flooding severely cutting yield potential in many other areas and prompting farmers not to harvest or merely use the wheat as cover crop. Meanwhile, the rain will have caused erosion, drained soil nutrients and the damp conditions will obviously promote disease as the season progresses.
High winter temperatures and moderate winds have reduced standing water during the last two weeks, with the exception of the worst hit areas like Cuenca del Salada where the situation remains critical, according to the Rosario Cereals Exchange.
The Rosario exchange estimates that 40% of the crop is going through the tillering stages and 37% is going through stem elongation.
Argentine farmers planted around 15% less wheat this year amid negative margins and uncertainty of economic policy ahead of the presidential elections there.
Alastair Stewart can be reached at email@example.com
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