Argentine farmers favor corn, wheat planting over soy

06.10.2016

Argentina will likely harvest a record corn crop as farmers favor planting corn and wheat over soybeans in the upcoming 2016/17 season, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Wednesday.

A record crop of 36 million tonnes of commercial-use corn is expected, up 20 percent from 30 million tonnes in 2015/16, said Esteban Copati, head of crop estimates at the exchange.

The soy crop, on the other hand, is seen at 53 million tonnes, down from 56 million tonnes a year earlier, Copati told journalists. Argentina is the world's No. 3 corn and soy exporter and top exporter of soybeans and soymeal.

"This year we are projecting expansion in corn area... we expect soy to give up some area," Copati said, explaining a moderate La Nina climate could also weaken yields in some soy growing areas.

Soy area planted will likely fall to 19.6 million hectares from 20.1 million hectares a year ago, according to the exchange. Corn area planted meanwhile will likely rise to 4.9 million hectares from 3.85 million hectares in 2015/16.

Shortly after taking office in December, President Mauricio Macri eliminated corn and wheat export taxes as part of his plan to revitalize Argentina's farm sector.

He cut the export tax on soy, the country's main cash crop, from 35 percent to 30 percent but said on Monday there would be no further cuts until 2018.

Argentina will likely harvest 12.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2016/17, compared to 10.3 million tonnes last season, Copati said.

"With the regulatory changes, what we are seeing this season is a significant recovery in wheat area," Copati said.

Corn planting started a few weeks ago and some isolated soybean planting has started in the far north, he added.

jamestownsun

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