El Nino could delay rains in Argentina until October, hitting corn and wheat

By Reuters

Heavy rainfall linked to the weather phenomenon known as El Nino likely will kick off in Argentina in October, experts said on Thursday, which could affect the corn planting season in some parts of the country.

Water is needed in many main corn growing areas where soil moisture levels are low, following a crippling drought that curtailed agricultural production during the 2022/23 season.

Farmers are expected to start planting corn for the 2023/24 cycle in September.

“We still have to spend August and the entire month of September with a situation that doesn’t seem to be the best,” said German Heinzenknecht, a meteorologist at climate consultancy CCA, who forecasts rains in October.

The Rosario Stock Exchange (BCR) said in a statement that current weather forecasts call for a more moderate El Nino, after stronger effects were previously seen, while also agreeing that rains will most likely pick up from October.

In a pre-season estimate, the BCR calculated the 2023/24 corn harvest at 56 million metric tons, adding that many farmers will delay their sowing or directly abandon their plans to sow the cereal if there is not enough rain.

“The possibility of adding 300,000 hectares (741,316 acres)of corn planting seems more and more remote due to the lack of water,” according to the BCR, which has estimated the 2023/24 corn area at 8.5 million hectares.

The Buenos Aires grains exchange said in a separate report that poor rainfall is affecting wheat crops for the 2023/24 season, causing “restrictive humidity conditions” over the center and north of Argentina’s agricultural area.

“Alternating temperatures continue to cause drops in the crop condition and loss of reproductive structures,” the exchange said in its weekly report, adding it maintained its wheat harvest forecast at 15.6 million tons, over a total planted area of 5.4 million hectares.

Argentina’s core agricultural area has registered “light” rains over the last 24 hours, according to the National Meteorological Service.

This article has been republished from The Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *