Argentine Corn Crop Seen by UN Rising 21% on Favorable Weather

Argentina’s corn crop may jump 21 percent this year after warm, dry weather since the end of December benefited planting of the grain, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said.

The harvest may rise to a record 25.5 million metric tons from last year’s 21 million tons, the Rome-based UN agency wrote today in a country report on its website. Sowing is “virtually complete” and covers about 4.6 million hectares (11.4 million acres), down 8 percent from last year’s record. Argentina is the world’s second-biggest corn exporter, after the U.S.

“Warm and dry weather in late December and early January benefited late sowing activities and the earlier-planted crops which are reported in good conditions,” the FAO said. “The abundant rains of the past months have resulted in favorable soil moisture but may cause higher-than-normal diseases during the growing season.”

Argentina’s soybean planting also is almost finished after some delays in prior months because of excess rain, the FAO said. Production of the oilseed may climb to an all-time high 53 million tons, with crops planted on 19 million hectares, 3 percent more than the previous season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture pegs Argentina’s corn crop at 28 million tons and estimates the country’s soybean output at 54 million tons.

The 2012 wheat crop is almost completely harvested, with production of the grain pegged at 10.5 million tons, 26 percent below a year earlier, the FAO said. Output fell as farmers reduced sowing and heavy rains in late 2012 cut yields.

Argentina’s corn exports in the 2012-13 marketing year begun March 1 may total 16 million tons, 5 percent higher than the prior period, the UN agency said. Shipments rose even as production declined because of “relatively high” stockpiles left over from the 2011 crop, it said.

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