BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Argentina’s soybean production in marketing year 2022-23 is forecast to drop to the lowest level in 15 years due to a prolonged drought, according to a recent Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA lowered its soybean production forecast to 36 million tonnes, 9.5 million tonnes lower than its previous estimate. If realized, it would be the lowest soybean output in Argentina since 2008-09, when 32 million tonnes were harvested.
The USDA noted that recent rains will buy time for second-crop soybeans, but better-than-average weather is needed through February for a substantial recovery.
“A wide range of possibilities still exist for the 2022-23 soybean crop,” the agency said. “With perfect growing conditions for the rest of the season, it is still early enough that the large planted-area second crop of late planted soybeans could compensate for losses in first-crop beans to yield a total production that exceeds the disastrous drought during the 2017-18 crop year (which produced 37 million tonnes). However, a return to high temperatures and dry conditions could drop production lower than our current estimate.”
Some of the most productive cropland in the country has been affected by the drought, the report said, particularly south-central Santa Fe, northern Buenos Aires, and much of Entre Rios Province. In a recent crop tour, the USDA observed “unprecedented levels of abandonment in this normally verdant region.”
Argentina is typically the third largest producer of soybeans behind Brazil and the United States.