Saturday, June 23, 2012

Drought hits Argentine corn and soy crops

Seed Daily via UPI: Drought is claiming a heavy toll on Argentina's corn and soy crops, creating new problems for the economy amid an increasingly fraught confrontation between farmer groups and the government. Drought isn't a new threat to Argentine agriculture and has affected crops with varying severity over the past three years but officials said this year's yields could be the worst in 15 years.

Dry, hot weather conditions are blamed on La Nina, the weather phenomenon that is the opposite of El Nino. The last major La Nina phase began in mid-2007 and lasted through 2009 but its adverse effects returned in parts of Latin America in 2010 and in other parts in 2011.

Venezuela is another regional country affected by La Nina's vagaries. Drought-related yield reports from across the country earlier led the Agriculture Ministry in Buenos Aires to slash soy output forecast to 42.9 million tons. Economists from Argentina's Rosario grain exchange said they were revising the soy harvest estimates further downward -- from 40.9 million tons to 40.5 million tons for soy planted in the last season.

Rosario's latest figures represented a sharp revision of yield forecasts issued as recently as May and a drastic departure from earlier estimates that predicted soy yields of 52 million-53 million tons. Analysts said that continued drought conditions made it likely the yield forecasts could be revised again....

A soy field in Argentina, shot by Maggilautaro, public domain

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