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Rain won't help Argentina soy crop, analyst says

Agriculture.com Staff 01/29/2009 @ 12:33pm

CHICAGO, Illinois(Agriculture Online)--As they enter the critical growth stage of "flowering", a large part of the Argentine soybean plants near a point of beyond repair, a Buenos Aires market analyst says. In contrast, Brazil's soybean crop is faring well.

María Alejandra Linares Figueroa, a farm advisor and market analyst with AACREA, an Argentina research firm, tells Agriculture Online the soybean crop will suffer severe yield loss.

AGOL: Can you characterize just how severe the Argentina drought is, and its impact on the soybean crop?

Figueroa: The drought is the most severe since soya has been developed in Argentina. The impact is seen everywhere (widespread), except for an small area in Córdoba and Bs As).There are many areas that couldn't be planted, from the 18,4 millions hectares that where initially to be planted only 16, 1 succeeded and most of them aren't in a very good condition. Argentine soybean production will be under international reports, probably, because the drought is worst than it seems (long and intense). Today, we don't expect a production over 40 million tons, when at first we expected between 50-51 Mt, some private reports, the most pessimists, said that production will be under 37 Mt and this number could be lower if rainfall it is not generalized, meanwhile there are no national estimates.

AGOL: Can you give me an example of how many acres of soybeans will be affected by the drought? What amount of yield loss will be lost?

Figueroa: First, you have 2.3 million hectares that couldn't be planted and less yield in the ones that were planted. During 2006/07, national yield was 2971 kg/ha with a production of 47.4 million metric tons, and last year was Y=2822 kg/ha, P=46,23 Mt. Today we are expecting less than 2500 kg/ha.

AGOL: Is your crop done growing, or with some rain can you get some yield back?

Figueroa: Soybean plants are still growing but the damage is done, and most of it can't be reversed. It doesn't matter how much it rains, at least 30% of the potential yield is, already, lost. Today is raining in some production areas, but it is not good enough, most areas need at least 80mm and it is raining only 20, just to keep some plants alive.

AGOL: What are other farmers saying about how much yield they are losing?

Figueroa: Losses are huge in some areas and reach 60% of the potential yield. In general, farmers are really worried, the situation is complicated as there is no yield possible to reverse a negative result in most companies.

AGOL: Some say even though Argentina is having a drought, Brazil is still doing very well, and the world still has plenty of soybeans? What is your perspective on that issue?

Figueroa: If the world is missing about 10 million metric tons, something has to change, not only to Argentine farmers but also for the rest of the world. It is a percentage of the world production that vanish. Brazil production is yet to be realized, there are different opinions about it. For example: USDA 59Mt (last month 60), Oil World 57.5 Mt (last month 59Mt) and CONAB 57.7. So, there is drought impact in some areas of Brazil, and we are in a crucial moment of the crop progress (flowering).

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