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Argentina's soybean crop gets second downgrade in two days

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Argentina’s soybean crop received its second downgrade in two days – this time from the Rosario grains exchange, which cautioned that “extremely dry conditions” had cut yield hopes and forced some fields to be abandoned.

 

The Rosario grains exchange slashed by 4.0m tonnes to 45.0m tonnes its forecast for Argentina’s 2020-21 soybean harvest, as will start this month.

 

The downgrade took the estimate further below last year’s 50.7m-tonne result.

 

It also took the figure beneath estimates from other commentators - including the 47.50m tonnes at which the US Department of Agriculture on Tuesday pegged the imminent harvest. That represented a downgrade of 500,000 tonnes, attributed to “dry weather conditions over the past month”, and reflecting a cut to 2.84 tonnes per hectare in the yield estimate.

 

The exchange not only reduced its yield estimate by 0.17 tonnes per hectare to 2.75 tonnes per hectare, but cut its estimate for harvested area too, by 400,000 hectares from last month to 16.4m hectares, as it cautioned the dryness had rendered some crops non-viable.

 

This was particularly the case for double crop soybeans - sown later than full-season soybeans for which planting begin in October, and which had escaped the worst of the damage from drought.

 

‘Very serious losses’

After early-2021 rains offered some hope of a decent harvest, “the soybean development cycle once again suffered a setback in climatic conditions. and from February it faced extremely dry conditions”, the exchange said.

 

“It is estimated that 850,000 hectares will be lost due to the lack of water, which, in large part, will be double crop soybeans.

 

“There are very serious losses in yields and sown area.”

 

Only Cordoba, among major growing provinces, was seen as on track to fulfil its yield production potential of 3.01 tonnes per hectare as forecast last month – leaving it on course for a 14.5m-tonne harvest.

 

Buenos Aires, which had been expected to the top producing province, was now pegged with a harvest of less than 12.45m tonnes, a downgrade of 2.5m tonnes from last month.

 

Corn forecast

However, the exchange was less downbeat on prospects for Argentina’s newly-started corn harvest, standing by a forecast for 48.5m tonnes.

 

While early harvest yields had varied markedly, from 4.5-10.0 tonnes per hectare, corn crops looked “very good” in western growing areas, if with some risk of a setback in eastern areas from a wet forecast.

 

The USDA on Tuesday held its Argentina corn output forecast at 47.50m tonnes.

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