Argentina wheat attacked by fungi, rains delay other seeding

Corn, soy should not be planted until end of October, say analysts

Flooding in Argentina’s Pampas grains belt has led to fungi on wheat crops, and continued rains have delayed corn and soy seeding until at least October 28, according to analysts.

Excessive rainstorms have been a problem since August, leaving questions about grain supplies as dry weather in other parts of the world (Russia, Australia and the U.S. in particular) have added to the issue. Chicago grains futures have shown wheat grow 32 percent since January, while soy and corn have increased 28 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Argentina’s upcoming wheat harvest is expected to shrink 17 percent from last season to 11.5 million metric tons, according to the country’s Agriculture Ministry, as farmers shift to other crops. “In the wheat sector, the appearance of diseases has become a worry, and plants have been lost in many areas since their roots were starved of oxygen,” said a Rosario grains exchange report.

El Niño often brings rain to the Southern Cone. On the positive side, marginal growing regions such as San Luis, La Pampa, Santiago del Estero and Chaco provinces should get tropical-type weather over the months ahead, giving those areas more productivity potential than they usually have, according to analysts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sees Argentina’s 2012–2013 soy output at a record 55 million metric tons, corn at a record 28 million metric tons and wheat at 11.5 million metric tons.