Saturated soils may cut Argentina soy, corn area

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 12 (Reuters) – After strong weekend storms, early spring rainfall threatens to cut by half the planted area of soy and corn in Argentina’s largest producing province of Buenos Aires, analysts said on Tuesday.

Above average levels of moisture now affect 11.86 million acres, or 28 percent of Buenos Aires’s agricultural lands, according to farm group Carbap. Moisture has been accumulating since early in the year.

Dry conditions forecast during the second half of September could bring some relief to the affected regions, but rain returning in October could bring significant losses to plantable areas. Buenos Aires province accounted for 33 percent of soy area and 25 percent of corn in the 2016-17 crop year.

“Buenos Aires decides its fate in October (the beginning of the Argentine spring). If October comes with a lot of rain… game over,” said Germán Heinzenknecht, meteorologist at the Applied Climatology Consultant.

Less soy and corn from Argentina, the world’s No. 3 exporter of both, would come at a time of massive global supplies and low prices.

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Gonzalo Hermida, coordinator of the forecast department at the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange, said some areas of the province have been ruled out for grains planting due to excess water.

“We are starting spring with lots of water, so it could rain a lot and cause chaos,” he said.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soy oil and soy meal. Earlier this month, the Rosario exchange estimated a 2017-18 soy area of 15.57 million acres and corn of 46.21 million acres.

The 2017-18 wheat crop has already been planted. Hermida said that the Buenos Aires grains exchange was evaluating increasing its estimates for rain related losses, currently at 20,000 acres out of 13.22 million acres.

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