Argentina drought leads to 40 percent crop losses

Estimate for harvest year at 20.8 million metric tons

The six-week drought in December 2011 and January 2012 that hit Argentina’s crop fields led to losses of up to 40 percent in some areas, according to the country’s government.

In key corn-growing area Bragado, Buenos Aires province, early-planted fields are being harvested with yields coming in at 2,000 to 5,000 kilos per hectare, said Argentina’s weekly crop report. Nearly half of Bragado’s 2011–2012 corn has been collected at an average yield of 4,500 kilo per hectare. Some early-planted corn fields in Rio Cuarto, Cordoba province, are so thin that farmers have decided not to harvest them. The province’s late-planted corn is developing normally, except in western Rio Cuarto, which was affected by frost in early April.

The current total 2011–2012 corn crop estimate is at 20.8 million metric tons, according to the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange.