corn field
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — With hot and dry conditions since November, Argentina’s 2017-18 corn production is now estimated at 40 million tonnes, down 2 million tonnes from the official U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) number.

The weather has affected the development of early-planted corn and delayed the planting of new corn, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA.

“Most areas have received significantly lower rainfall than normal, and much lower compared to the past two crop seasons,” the FAS said. “Some areas are in relatively good shape as rains were very spotted.”

About 40% of the corn was planted early and will see yields negatively affected since most of it flowered during the very dry and extremely hot period in mid-December and early January.

“Much of the late and/or second corn crop was planted already but most plantations are in need of significant rain,” the FAS said. “It remains a concern if and what area will finally be planted in Salta, Tucuman, Santiago del Estero and Chaco where more than 500,000 hectares are waiting to be sowed.”

Corn ending stocks for 2017-18 are estimated at 4.3 million tonnes, 2 million tonnes lower than the USDA because of an expected shorter crop.

Argentine wheat production for 2017-18 is estimated at 18 million tonnes, 500,000 tonnes higher than the USDA. Final yields have been surprisingly higher than expected, the FAS said.

Good humidity at the beginning of the crop season, good rainfall during the early stages and dry and cool temperatures at the end favored crop development, the FAS said.

“The widespread use of fertilizers and good crop protection practices against diseases was key to support high yields,” the FAS said.

Exports are expected to reach 12 million tonnes. Exporters have been very aggressive in sourcing wheat, the FAS said, and have closed purchases for more than 7.5 million tonnes so far.