Hot and dry weather has triggered a swift decline in Argentina’s corn and soybean production prospects, according to Gro’s forecast models.
Gro’s machine learning-based Argentina Yield Forecast Models show corn yield projections have dropped more than 10%, and soybean yields are down about 8%, since mid-January. While production estimates remain substantially above last year’s drought-hit crop, the recent yield declines represent a significant setback to the upbeat outlook of earlier this season, as Gro wrote about here.
Argentina is the third-largest corn exporter, after Brazil and the US, and is the world’s largest exporter of soybean meal and soybean oil.
Gro Drought Index readings, weighted for Argentina’s corn growing areas using Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture, began rising steadily starting on January 16. In Cordoba, one of the main corn growing provinces, soil moisture levels have dropped sharply. Accumulated rainfall in Cordoba since January 15 measures 80% below the 10-year average, as shown in this Navigator display.
The USDA’s current forecast calls for Argentina to produce 55 million tonnes of corn. However, Gro’s model indicates that the USDA will need to sharply cut its forecast to reflect recent, declining conditions. Argentina begins harvesting its corn crop in mid-March and its soybean crop in late March.
Since their 2020 launch, Gro’s Argentina Yield Forecast Models have provided forecasts for corn within 92% on average of the Ministry of Agriculture’s (MAGyP) final number, and within 94% for soybeans, five to six months in advance of official government estimates.
For a deeper dive into how Gro’s Global Yield Forecast and Acreage Models performed, download our 2023 Performance Report.
Argentina’s soybean growing regions also show a rise in drought readings and decline in soil moisture levels. Gro forecast data shows temperatures in soybean areas will remain elevated at least for the next week, which could further stress crops.
In neighboring Brazil, prospects have now stabilized for soybeans, which are currently being harvested. Sufficient rains in December reduced Gro Drought Index readings and boosted soil moisture levels after early season adverse conditions, as seen in this Gro Navigator display.
Gro’s Brazil Soybean Yield Forecast Model points to a slight decline in production from last year’s record, in line with USDA forecasts. Recent improvements in the soybean production outlook have reduced Brazil export prices to below competing origins.