Argentina forecasts wheat area to rebound from century-low
May. 25, 2010
Argentinas agriculture ministry followed a consensus, set by analysts from the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange to US Department of Agriculture staff, in forecasting that the countrys wheat sowings will recover this year, after falling in 2009 to their lowest in more than a century.
However, the forecast of a revival of 10-12%, implying an extra 400,000 hectares or so of sowings, is significantly lower than that foreseen elsewhere.
The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange is foreseeing a rise of twice as much, while Buenos Aires-based consulting firm AgriPac has pegged the increase at 1m-1.5m hectares.
The International Grains Council on Thursday said that a rise in Argentinas wheat production sufficient to enable it to double exports.
The farm ministry gave few details of its thinking, saying that it was still early to estimate 2010-11 plantings, with the winter sowing season still in its early days.
However, some areas, including parts of Buenos Aires and La Pampa states, have seen a less dramatic improvement in rainfall than some other areas.
Last years slump in sowings was blamed on the worst drought in living memory, besides government export restrictions which have reduced the crops appeal to farmers, many of which switched to soybeans.
Indeed, the farm ministry forecast that the 2009-10 harvest would end up at a record 53.5m tonnes, 1m tonnes higher than its previous estimate, thanks to near-deal crop weather.
"Average yields both for early-seeded and late-seeded soy are very satisfactory in most growing areas, exceeding record levels in many case," the ministry said.
The revised estimate was, nonetheless, behind USDA and Buenos Aires Grains Exchange figures.
The ministry also raised to 21m tonnes, from 20.5m tonnes, its estimate of the corn harvest.
Wheats appeal this year has been boosted in part by a hangover from successive soybean sowings, which has fostered the build-up of pest populations.
"Local contacts report that the amount of nematodes has also grown in the last two years due to lack of crop rotation," a report from the USDAs Buenos Aires buruea said earlier this month.
"In northern Buenos Aires province and Central Cordoba province researchers have found that the number of nematodes per 100 grammes of soil on some fields increased from 100 in 2008 to 800 in 2010."
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