Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Record Argentine corn and soya output to boost global supplies

Argentina looks poised to produce record corn and soya crops in the upcoming 2012/13 season, helping offset the impact of a devastating US drought and ease global food price concerns. Private analysts say heavy rains last month and high international prices are spurring farmers to plant corn and soyabeans in Argentina, one of the world's biggest grains exporters. 

Meteorologists expect the wet weather to continue throughout this crop year thanks to the El Nino phenomenon, producing a soya harvest of up to 56 million tonnes and corn output of as much as 31 million tonnes. That would mark a 40 percent increase for soya and a 50 percent jump for corn compared with last season, when plants were battered by a drought that left many farmers in tight financial straights. 

Corn area was initially seen falling sharply this season due to such difficulties but the outlook has since improved. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange raised its corn area forecast last week, although it still sees a 12 percent decline in acreage from the 2011/12 campaign. 

"It rained very well during all of August and moisture was replenished in nearly the entire grains-growing region. Prices continued to improve and the necessary financing materialised," said Esteban Copati, an analyst at the Buenos Aires exchange. Farmers began seeding corn in late August and they will harvest the grain starting in February or March. Soyabean planting will begin in the coming weeks, with the bulk of soya gathered in April and May. Argentina produced a record soya harvest of 52.7 million tonnes in the 2009/10 crop year and its biggest corn haul ever in 2010/11, when production reached 23.8 million tonnes, Agriculture Ministry data shows. Analysts see production topping those levels this season, helping compensate for the worst US drought in half a century, which has pushed corn and soyabean futures to record highs in the last month at the Chicago Board of Trade. 

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