Bloomberg News

Argentine Drought May Be Worst for Crops in More Than 70 Years

January 09, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Dry weather that’s hurting crops in Argentina may cause more damage than the 2008-2009 drought that was the worst in 70 years, a farming group said today, disputing a government statement.

The current spell of hot, dry weather covers more area and started earlier in the season than the previous drought, the Argentine Association of Regional Consortia for Agricultural Experimentation said in an e-mailed statement today.

That contradicts Argentina’s National Institute for Farming Technology, which said it’s “optimistic” the weather situation will improve. While precipitation levels in December were “way below average,” the drought can “in no way be compared to what happened in 2008,” Carlos Casamiquela, the institute’s head, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Corn and soybean crops are suffering after weeks of low rainfall in Argentina and southern Brazil due to the La Nina weather pattern. Argentina’s soybean output plunged by almost a third to 32 million tons in the 2008-2009 season from 46.2 million tons a year earlier.

Farmers were forecast to produce about 53 million tons of the crop this season, then-Agriculture Minister Julian Dominguez said Nov. 29.

Corn for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to $6.46 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 11:54 a.m. Soybeans for delivery in March fell 0.2 percent to $12.0675 a bushel.

Argentina’s corn crop is 84 percent planted, soybeans are 85 percent planted and wheat is 93 percent harvested, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said yesterday. Argentina is the world’s second-biggest corn exporter.

The next rainstorm is forecast for Jan. 10, Martin Fraguio, executive director of the corn growers’ association Maizar, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

--Editors: Will Wade, Charles Siler

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Price in Buenos Aires at lprice3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Carlos Caminada at ccaminada1@bloomberg.net


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