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Argentine Corn Crops Face Heatwave as Drought Pares Output

Corn farmers in Argentina, the world’s second-biggest exporter of the grain, will face a renewed heat wave next week after two months of dry weather harmed South American crops.

Temperatures will exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas through Feb. 2, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said today. Rain will be scarce in most areas, while some outlying Pampas areas receive abundant rain, said climatologist Eduardo Sierra.

The weather pattern known as La Nina has brought hot, dry weather to Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, scorching recently planted crops. The drought in Argentina is similar to one last year in the U.S. that caused corn production to miss forecasts by about 10 percent, Rick Tolman, chief executive officer of the National Corn Growers Association, said today.

“It looks very similar to what we experienced in 2011,” Tolman told journalists in Buenos Aires. The rain “seemed to be timely enough to help the soybean yields, but for a lot of the corn, it may be too little, too late.”

Temperatures will decline in early February, Sierra said in the exchange’s report. Corn planting runs from August to January. The crop is harvested from February until August.

Corn for March delivery rose 0.2 percent to $6.355 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 12:37 p.m., while soybeans for March increased 0.7 percent to $12.2175 a bushel.

Reduced Forecasts

Argentine corn growers may harvest 20 million to 22 million metric tons in the coming harvest, less than a November forecast of 30 million tons, Martin Fraguio, executive director of the Maizar corn association, said Jan. 19.

Soybeans growers will harvest about 46.2 million tons, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said today in its first forecast for the crop. Planting runs from September to January and the crop is harvested February through June. The exchange forecast corn production of 22 million tons.

“Rain registered over the past week brought relief to the majority of producing areas,” the Buenos Aires exchange said in its weekly report today. “However, losses are significant” in areas including parts of Cordoba province and northeastern Buenos Aires province.

Argentina is the world’s third-largest soybean exporter after the U.S. and Brazil. The U.S. is the world’s largest corn exporter, while Brazil is the fourth-biggest.

The Argentine government will provide about 2.8 billion pesos ($646 million) to farmers affected by the drought, Eduardo Buzzi, president of the Argentine Agriculture Federation, said in televised remarks today.

Drought in Brazil

Because of the drought, soybean and corn growers in Brazil’s southern Parana state will harvest less than previously forecast this summer, which runs from December through March in the Southern Hemisphere, the state’s agriculture secretariat said today.

Soybean growers in Parana will harvest 11.7 million tons of the oilseed, less than the 14.1 million tons estimated Dec. 15, the secretariat said on its website. The corn forecast was cut to 6.1 million tons from 7.4 million.

In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, soybean growers will harvest about 8 million metric tons in the crop year that started Sept. 1, 8.7 percent less than the 8.76 million tons estimated on Jan. 12, the state’s Emater agricultural research agency said today. The corn forecast was cut to 3.1 million tons from 3.31 million.

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