BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – Lower wheat production and exports are forecast for Argentina in the 2022-23 marketing year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projects production to decline 15% to 18.6 million tonnes due to smaller acreage and yields. As a result, exports in 2022-23 are forecast to decline slightly to 12.6 million tonnes.

“At this time, farmers have not made irrevocable decisions about winter planting intentions,” the report said. “With current high prices for both wheat and crop inputs, especially fertilizer, wheat planting intentions are highly uncertain. Post projects acreage will drop to 6.2 million hectares, 6% lower than our estimate for the previous year, but some industry contacts believe wheat acreage could fall as much as 25%.”

Argentine wheat stocks in the current and next marketing years are estimated at around 2 million tonnes and will be closely monitored by the government to maintain a well-supplied milling industry, which includes 160 flour mills, and reduce retail price volatility, the report said.

Meanwhile, the USDA is forecasting record barley output and exports for the upcoming marketing year. Production is expected to reach 5.3 million tonnes, 6% higher than the 2021-22 estimate, while exports are pegged at 3.7 million tonnes, which would include 1.2 million tonnes of malting barley and 2.5 million of feed barley.

“China is expected to continue to be the main, and almost exclusive, destination for feed barley,” the USDA said. “Malting barley is projected to be exported to Brazil, Colombia and China, as well as smaller volumes to Ecuador, Peru and some EU countries.”