Argentina corn belt faces 20 percent losses on heavy storms

Planting delayed, far behind schedule, say experts

Argentina could lose 20 percent of its projected corn crop and 10 percent of its soybean crop due to heavy storms that have hit the area over the last three months, according to reports

The country is expected to harvest 28 million metric tons of corn and 55 million metric tons of soy in the 2012–2013 crop year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. ”Given all the hail, rain, waterlogging and flooding we’ve seen, some corn fields will be lost,” said Buenos Aires-based economist and agricultural consultant Manuel Alvarado Ledesma. ”Others can still be replanted, but with uncertain results. You can expect a drop in corn production of about 20 percent, to 22.4 million metric tons. There has also been a delay in planting soy, which at this point looks like it will reduce the harvest by 10 percent to 50 million metric tons.”

Up to 15 percent of Argentina’s corn area might be lost to the rains, according to Martin Fraguio, who heads local corn industry chamber Maizar. Planting for the 2012–2013 year is far behind, at 35–40 percent when it should be at 50–70 percent by now, said Fraguio. ”But I think it is still reasonable to expect 24 to 26 million metric tons of production, or even more,” he said.