The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
Argentina Corn Hopes Rising With Heavy Rainfall
Drought breaking rainfall arrived in the Argentina grain belt last week which will boost corn planting, but drought-stressed wheat is fated for a poor harvest. Corn planting in Argentina had stalled at around 25% due to very dry spring conditions, but will advance very rapidly in the wake of recent heavy rainfall. Western Buenos Aires received 1.5- 4.0 inches of rainfall and Cordoba, 1.0 -3.5 inches. Argentina aims to produce 30 million metric tons of corn this season, compared to 22.50 million metric tons (MMT) last year, an ambitious goal. Winter wheat would not recover from a prolonged drought in key growing areas of southern Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe and Cordoba, authorities said. The Argentina Agriculture Ministry last week pegged the new wheat harvest at only 11 million to 13 MMT, and worse than the 13.5 MMT projected by USDA in the October report.
Ukraine Receives Welcome Rain, Heat Needed to Spur Crop Growth
Ukraine has received heavy, drought breaking rainfall in the past week, improving growing conditions in winter wheat and rapeseed. Rainfall amounts ranged from .75 inch to 2.5 inches, but locally more. Crop development has been seriously delayed due to drought stress previously that hindered germination and growth. A late September MODIS satellite-generated image showed much below normal vegetation compared to the 5-year average. Warm temperatures are needed to promote strong growth with increased field moisture. It may be difficult for wheat and rapeseed to make up for lost development time. Daily mean temperatures in central Ukraine drop off rather quickly from 47 F in mid October to 36 F mid November. Dormancy sets in during December.
China Corn Potential Stymied by Low Yields
China will harvest a record 184.5 million metric tons of corn and 2 MMT higher than the previous forecast , the China GNGOIC agency announced yesterday. It is still not enough corn to address domestic consumption needs for livestock feed and ethanol. China is currently on a buying spree, yesterday booking 900,000 tons of US corn for 2011-12 delivery. Exporters previously sold 292,100 tons to "unknown destinations" presumed to be China. The Argentina agriculture secretary October 5 announced the country was negotiating with China for future corn sales, hoping to sign a deal by November. The main problem with China meeting domestic consumption needs are low corn yields. Seed technology is way behind the United States, where genetically modified seeds are used to ward off insect pests, disease and drought. The projected China yield this season is 88 bushels per acre , compared to 148.1 bushels in the United States.
Sharply Reduced United States Bread Wheat Supplies
The Climate Prediction Center expects a strong La Nina to unfold by winter though not as intense as the previous one last winter. The La Nina is a known drought maker in the Southern Great Plains, posing a threat to hard red winter wheat. Supplies of the key bread wheat were sharply reduced by devastating drought last winter in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Final production was only 780 million bushels which was 23% below 2010. Another shock came from a poor spring wheat harvest in the September 30 Small Grains Report. Hard red spring wheat production fell to 405 million bushels and down 29% on the season. Spring wheat suffered from a small planted area from a very cold spring and delayed snowmelt. Hard red spring wheat output was the smallest since 2002.