The U.S. ag attache in Argentina says it expects 2012-13 soybean area in the country to increase by 2% to 19 million hectares, with production expected at 52 million metric tons (MMT). The attache also expects crush to increase as demand for soyoil for domestic use in biofuels production is expected to increase by 30%.
The attache says the increase in soybean area for the year ahead will mostly come from corn. "After a hot and dry year that did some major damage to the corn crop, producers indicate that they will stick with the "safe" crop -- soybeans," says the attache. "Input costs for soybeans are lower than for other commodities and although export taxes are high, there are no export restrictions or quotas for soybeans as there are for grains. Producers and weather analysts are also hoping for an 'El Nino' year where rains are expected to normalize."
The attache lowered its 2011-12 soybean production forecast by 1.5 MMT to 45 MMT, noting plant development was damaged by "adverse weather conditions." The attache said although rains in late January through March helped to recover much of the soy, it has not had a full recovery. "The heat and dryness hit hardest in a strip of area through Cordoba, southern Santa Fe and northern Buenos Aires province which accounts for nearly 50% of soybean area," it adds.
Juli says: In its April S&D Report, USDA lowered his Argentine soybean crop estimate by 1.5 MMT to match the attache's estimate of 45 MMT. With La Nina over, crop-watchers are hopeful soil moisture levels will recharge before the 2012-13 crop is seeded.