Argentina is to see an end to the persistent rains which
have slowed fieldwork and threatened crop quality, improving hopes of decent
corn and soybean harvests, and for a marked uptick in wheat sowings too.
Rains have slowed harvests to among their slowest in recent history,
with farmers having 33.1% of corn in the barn, 17.4 points behind the average
pace, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said.
For soybeans, the harvest is 69.9% complete, 23.1 points
behind the average, decelerating rapidly this month, with less than 600,000
hectares reaped in the last week, out of a 19.5m hectares expected to be
The extent of the slowdown has begun to raise concerns over the
harvest, with the exchange reporting that the latest round of "moderate to high
rainfall" had begun to raise concerns over the quality of soybeans, "and generate
uncertainty about the final yield picture".
In corn, the exchange reported "great concern" among
farmers, who had begun to witness "fungal attack" on ears.
'Dry weather bias'
However, forecasts show that "fortunately", major cropping
areas should not see rain "for the next few weeks", the exchange said.
Commodity Weather Group said that Argentina "will return to
a dry weather bias over the coming week".
Although fieldwork "will be delayed for a while today", it will
"resume relatively quickly as fields dry down from recent rain".
Weather service MDA said that rains "should now become quite
limited through the next week, which allow remaining harvesting to finish up".
The comments came as Argentina's farm ministry, citing "excellent"
crop condition in some northern areas, raised by 1.3m tonnes to 31.1m tonnes
its forecast for the country's ongoing corn harvest, above forecasts from other
The US Department of Agriculture and the Buenos Aires grains
exchange, for instance, peg the crop at 24.0m tonnes, while Lanworth forecasts
a 25.1m-tonne harvest.
The ministry kept at 54.0m tonnes its forecasts for the
soybean harvest, saying that strong results from some northern areas were
offsetting concerns elsewhere.
The farm ministry also, in its first estimate for wheat
sowings for the 2014-15 crop, forecast them at 4.5m hectares, above the 4.3m
hectares expected by the Buenos Aires grains exchange, and the 4.1m hectares
pencilled by in the SRA producers' group.
Wheat plantings, if still in their early stages, have been
running behind average thanks to the wet weather.
The ministry said its estimate reflected price expectations,
the boost to soil moisture from the rainfall, a need to rotate crops and "irregular"
results from alternative options for planting.
Although many growers have switched to barley in the last
two seasons, in frustration at the export controls they believe are depressing
return prospects for wheat, yield results have been mixed.