Drought means Argentine corn, soybean yields at risk until March

22 Feb 2022 | Liliana Minton

Argentina’s crop yields for corn and soybeans could continue to fall owing to the lack rains in the country’s key growing regions to date, and the return of meaningful volumes could be delayed until mid-March causing significant yield losses, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BAGE) said on Monday.

Alongside BAGE, fellow exchange the Rosario Grain Exchange (BCR) also warned about continuing losses in crop yields. 

BCR highlighted soybean yields in Argentina’s core area – or also called as nucleus area – were pegged at 31.8 quintals/ha (3.18 mt/ha), compared with 31.1 quintals/ha (3.11 mt/ha) by the end of February last year.

However, the Rosario exchange warned that yields are likely to be slashed even further owing to the lack of rainfall in mid-February which has compromised grain filling.

Yields could potentially end lower than the ones registered in the 2017/18 season, when soybeans dropped to 29 quintals/ha (2.9 mt/ha).

Argentina-based consultancy AZ Group told Agricensus that the early-planted corn crop in Argentina's core region is expected to see a reduction of 10-30% on yields when compared to initial estimates, while early planted soybeans are also expected to see large reductions in yields.

“The lack of rainfall could also impact the late-planted soybean crop, however there are some rains forecast for the last week of February,” the consultancy added.

The second-consecutive “La Nina” weather phenomenon this season has resulted in a severe drought in the country’s agriculture regions, and forecasters are expecting the phenomenon to remain until May, thus potentially delaying rains in the autumn months.

A delay in the withdrawal of La Nina could impact wheat plantings as it would delay the onset of autumn rainfall if the forecast is realised.