Dry soybeans down south

  • 01

    Rain has fallen in the parched parts of South America, and the market responded to word of the precipitation by putting a lot of downward pressure on last week. But, was the rain enough to improve crop conditions much? Here's one area where farmers didn't benefit much.

  • 02

    The last month has been a dry one for much of Argentina, but it's far from consistent. "The rains helped in a few spots, but conditions there are very much still variable," says MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney.

  • 03

    This field's about 20 miles south of Chacabuco, which is 130 miles west of Buenos Aires. That's where Mauricio Torres is a crop advisor with BLD, a large consulting firm based in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina.

  • 04

    This farmer is "very concerned, as most farmers in Argentina" about his soybean potential after this year's tough growing conditions, so much so that he's only forward-contracted 10% of his normal grain output versus 50%, which he normally would have sold ahead by this point in the year.

  • 05

    As a result, farmers like this customer of Torres' will likely miss out on profit potential not just because of lower yields, but also a seasonal nadir in grain prices. "They had to pass when they had good prices," he says. "Today, not only are they dealing with the climate situation, but prices are not good with forward-contracting for May [delivery]."

  • 06

    Looking ahead, Keeney says he expects the hit-and-miss pattern to dominate the critical soybean and corn areas of Argentina for at least the near future, though rainfall chances improve in the next few days for farmers in the Cordoba, Santa Fe, Entre Rios and Buenos Aires provinces. "This should really give the soybeans a boost," he says.

Walk some fields in Argentina, where farmers are heading toward the harvest of a stressed soybean crop (photos by Mauricio Torres).

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