BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Argentina farmers are expected to plant less soybeans than originally projected as government policies and availability of hybrid seeds encouraged more corn planting, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Total planted acres for 2021-22 are reduced to 17 million hectares, with an average estimated abandonment of 500,000 hectares, the USDA said. Projected harvested acreage is 16.5 million hectares and a total production of 49.7 million tonnes. This is a reduction of 1.5 million tonnes from the June projection and is 2.3 million tonnes lower than the USDA official estimate.

New export taxes set at 33% for soybeans and 12% for corn and wheat. This resulted in lower farm gate prices for soybeans and made corn more attractive relative to soybeans. It also has encouraged farmers to plant winter grains like wheat and barley and grow second crop soybeans, the USDA said.

The increased availability of high-quality hybrid corn seed adapted to different regions also has influenced planting decisions.

“Argentine corn yields have risen faster than soybeans over the last 10 years and new varieties have performed better under drought stress conditions than soybeans,” the USDA said. “A wider range of maturity dates allows farmers to make planting decisions based on when they anticipate drought stress.”