Argentine Soy Crop Forecast Poised to Be Cut in Heat Wave

Argentina’s soybean crop output forecast may be lowered as more high temperatures and low rainfall are expected for the next two weeks, the chief agro-climatologist from the largest grains exchange said.

Crop estimates for the Pampas, Argentina’s main soybean region, should be trimmed on a lack of rain, Eduardo Sierra said today in an e-mail statement to Bloomberg, before the release of Buenos Aires Grains Exchange’s weather report. The area is facing what may be the hottest start to a year in more than half a century, he said.

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said Jan. 23 it expects Argentina’s soybean output to be 54 million metric tons and Rosario Grains Exchange said the same day it would be 53 million. A lack of water is a “serious problem” in some soybean areas, the Rosario exchange said in a Jan. 24 report.

“Soybean output for the 2012-2013 crop will stand at 50 million,” said Sierra in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “We will have a good crop but it isn’t going to be the big party everybody forecast in December when the rain was damaging the crop with fungus related diseases.”

Argentina, the world’s largest exporter of soybean oil and third of soybeans, may be having the hottest January since 1957, according to Sierra, who has tracked Argentina’s Pampas weather for the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange for almost four decades.

Soaring Prices

Temperatures in the soybean zone will be more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 Farenheit) next week with scattered rains, Sierra, who forecast a dust bowl for Argentina in December, said in his report to be published later today by the Buenos Aires exchange. During the week of Feb. 7-13, temperatures are expected to exceed 35 degrees Celsius (95 Farenheit), he said.

Soybean futures for March delivery surged 1.7 percent to $14.7625 a bushel at 10:12 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier touching $14.79, the highest since Dec. 18.

Most fields in Argentina to southern Brazil will get less than 0.5 inch (1.3 centimeters) of rain during the next five days, before dry weather returns through Feb. 10, T-Storm Weather LLC said in a report today.

The USDA is predicting soybean production in Argentina will jump 35 percent to 54 million tons after cutting its forecast from 55 million last month. The USDA will be updating its forecast on Feb. 8.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange will release its first forecast next week, said an official who asked not to be identified, according to the exchange’s communications policy.

Argentina farmers are completing soybean planting that will cover a record area of 19.6 million hectares, surpassing by 3.7 percent the previous record for the 2010-2011 crop, according to Argentina’s Agricultural Ministry.

Argentina produced a record soybean crop of 52.6 million tons in the 2008-2009 season, the ministry has said.

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