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Rains in Argentina slow deterioration of drought-hit soy, corn crops

  • Dryness has blighted Pampas since mid-2020, prompting the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange last week to cut its soy and corn harvest estimates. Soy and corn are Argentina's main cash crops.
  • The rains have been very good. This has been the first storm front to make a complete sweep of the agricultural area in almost 45 days.
Published March 17, 2021

BUENOS AIRES: Rain storms this week in Argentina's Pampas farm belt have slowed the deterioration of many drought-hit soybean and corn fields, crop weather specialists said on Wednesday.

Dryness has blighted Pampas since mid-2020, prompting the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange last week to cut its soy and corn harvest estimates. Soy and corn are Argentina's main cash crops.

"The rains have been very good. This has been the first storm front to make a complete sweep of the agricultural area in almost 45 days," said German Heinzenknecht, meteorologist at the local Applied Climatology consultancy.

The rains dumped 35 to 50 millimeters of moisture, he said, slowing and in some cases stopping the damage to crop yields.

"Chances that this will result in an increase in yields is very limited, but it does slow down the drop and slow the loss of harvestable late-planted soy crops," said Esteban Copati, head crop analyst at the exchange, which last week warned that it may have to cut its harvest estimate yet again.

Argentina is set to lose $2.26 billion in export revenue due to the effects of drought on the country's 2020/21 soybean crop, the Rosario grains exchange said on Friday.

The Rosario exchange on Wednesday cut its soy harvest forecast to 45 million tonnes from a previous 49 million tonnes, citing persistent high temperatures and scant rainfall.

Roberto Suarez, managing partner of farm management firm CINA 25 in the Pampas town of 25 de Mayo, Buenos Aires province, said the rains have helped many growers. But fields that were lost to drought over recent weeks cannot be recovered.

"Here we have growers who have already released livestock into corn and soy fields, which had been lost due to the drought," he said.

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