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Record Argentina soy crop too

10/04/2012 @ 12:04pm

Argentina's farmers are gearing up for a record soybean crop this season as high global prices and promising weather stoke planting, according to the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange.

Planting area is expected to reach a new high mark of 19.7 million hectares, up 4.5% on the year, the exchange said in a report Thursday. (One hectare equals 2.47 acres.)

"With current market prices and good planting conditions, farmers could plant the largest historical area ever," Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange analyst Esteban Copati said.

Argentina's farmers are just about to start 2012-13 soybean planting and a wet Southern Hemisphere spring attributed to the El Nino weather pattern bodes well for their efforts.

"Except for the flooded areas in Buenos Aires province, the [rainfall] over the past months guarantees the needed conditions for successful planting of the crop," the exchange said.

Argentina's soybean production is estimated at 55 million metric tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The previous high mark of 52.7 million tons was set during the last El Nino event in 2009-10, according to Argentina's agriculture ministry.

El Nino involves warming of the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean and generally produces abundant rains across the farm belts of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil.

Global prices also soared this year as drought battered the U.S. crop, fueling fears of tight global supplies of the oilseed, a key animal feed in much of the world.

That came after drought in South America last season that caused yields to plunge.

Argentina is the world's No. 3 global soybean exporter behind Brazil and the U.S. and leads in soymeal and soyoil shipments.

Argentina is also the world's No. 2 corn exporter, and planting area is seen sliding next season due to higher costs for corn seed and agrochemicals and as farmers go all in with soy.

Argentina's total corn planting area is expected to drop by 12% on the year to 3.4 million hectares, according to the exchange. Area will drop by about 470,000 hectares, with most of that area going to soy, the exchange said.

Corn planting is well under way, with farmers taking advantage of the wet soil to get seeds into the ground. As of last Thursday, about 10% of the forecast area had been planted, according to the exchange.

Estimates for Argentina's 2012-13 crop production in millions of hectares or millions of metric tons:

Wheat    Soy    Corn    Sunseed 
B.A. Cereals Exch  3.6HA    19.7HA 3.4HA    2HA 
Rosario Grain Exch 3.6HA    --     4HA      -- 
USDA               11.5MT   55MT   28MT     4MT 
Ag Ministry        3.7HA    --      --      --

Argentina's historical production in millions of metric tons, according to the Agriculture Ministry:

Wheat    Soy     Corn    Sunseed 
2011-12            13.2     40.1    21      3.3 
2010-11            15.8     48.9    24      3.7 
2009-10             9       52.7    22.7    2.3 
2008-09             8.4     31      13.1    2.5 
2007-08             16.4    46.2    22      4.7 
2006-07             14.6    47.5    21.8    3.5

Write to Shane Romig at shane.romig@dowjones.com

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Really 10/04/2012 @ 10:26pm Is this the same USDA that has predicted a record US crop for 3 yrs in row and has been wrong all 3 yrs yeah I'd for sure listen to them.

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