Oil World elevated concerns over dryness in Argentina by warning of a "critical" situation in most northern oilseed and grain growing areas, which looks like limiting sunflower sowings to a 30-year low.
Although Argentina's farm ministry this week rowed back on an estimate of an 8.8m-tonne wheat crop, which has been set back by frost and drought, it declared four provinces to be in a state of agricultural emergency due to weather setbacks.
The drought in central and northern Santa Fe is the worst in 50 years, threatening some 10m hectares of land, Oil World said.
The impact of the drought has already been seen in sunflower plantings, which had as of October 10 been completed on 240,000 hectares – down from 600,000 hectares a year before, the influential consultancy said, cautioning that sowings looked like ending up at 1.5m hectares.
That would be the lowest in 30 years, and 300,000 hectares fewer than initially intended.
The US Department of Agriculture foresees Argentine sunflower area hitting 1.85m hectares in 2013-14, on a harvested basis.
'Prospects would deteriorate'
On sunflower production, "our current estimate of 3m tonnes for early 2014 could finally prove optimistic unless weather conditions improve sufficiently", German-based Oil World said.
The USDA foresees a 3.4m-tonne harvest.
And Oil World cautioned over soybeans too, saying that if dryness persists into December, some area earmarked for the oilseed would not be planted, with much of what was sown tested by poor conditions for early crop development.
"It is not yet too late for soybeans, but soybean production prospects would deteriorate considerably if the required rainfall does not occur in November and December," the consultancy said.
'More rain is needed'
The warnings over Argentina's dryness were echoed by other commentators too, including Anne Frick at Jefferies Bache who warned that "more rain is needed to support corn planting in most major growing areas of central Argentina".
Gail Martell, at Martell Crop Projections, blamed " persistent cold and drought" for a "slow" start to corn seedings, which were 14% completed as of last week, well behind the five-year average of 37%, and with the ideal planting window closed in many areas.
In Buenos Aires, the top corn-growing province, "producers are struggling to plant corn due to unusually dry field conditions", with rainfall over the past month running at half normal levels in central areas.
Weather service MDA said that "some slight improvement" in weather is expected in central Buenos Aires, and northern Santa Fe this week.
"However, the dryness in northern Buenos Aires, eastern Cordoba and central Santa Fe will continue, which will stress corn ad sunflower germination."
Dryness in Argentina is often associated with La Nina weather patterns, although no such event is expected in 2013-14, with the key Enso levels used by meteorologists within levels considered neutral.
El Nino events typically bring Argentina heavy rains.