BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – Argentine wheat production for the 2017-18 season has been forecast at 16.65 million tonnes, 850,000 tonnes lower than in 2016-17, according to a July 26 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This is due in part to lower forecast wheat harvested area of 5.2 million hectares, about 300,000 hectares less than a year ago, the report said. The GAIN report said that 100,000 to 150,000 hectares in the southern Buenos Aires province may not be planted due to excess rain. About 90% of wheat planting in the country is complete.

As a result of lower-than-expected production, Argentine wheat exports are forecast by the USDA to fall by 1 million tonnes from a year ago, at 10.5 million tonnes. Roughly half of the exports are expected to be shipped early in the marketing season to Southeast Asian markets and to North African countries. The other half would be shipped to Brazil, which many traders believe will have to increase its imports due to a crop affected by recent weather problems in Parana, where there was too much rain followed by harsh frosts.

 Meanwhile, the report shows the USDA forecast corn production in Argentina for 2017-18 at 40.5 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous year.

“Yields have been incredibly high in many parts of the country, which in most cases were record,” the USDA said. “Productivity in the center-north of Argentina was very good thanks to the combination of good soil humidity and rains with better technology. During the development of the crop many producers increased their yield expectations 3 to 4 times.”

The USDA forecasts Argentine corn exports in 2017-18 at 29.5 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes higher than the previous year. This is as a result of a larger expected crop and lower domestic consumption that would provide a bigger export surplus than what USDA currently reports. It projects total corn domestic consumption at 11.2 million tonnes, 500,000 tonnes higher than in 2016-17.