Dry conditions brought on by a La Niña climate event are hitting Argentina’s main wheat producing regions just as the crop enters its midseason growing stage.
Of the four main wheat-growing provinces, Cordoba and La Pampa are experiencing moderate drought conditions, while Entre Rios and Buenos Aires provinces are abnormally dry. The impact on final wheat crop yields will depend on the intensity and duration of the La Niña. The Rosario grains exchange reduced its 2020/21 wheat harvest estimate to 18-19 million tonnes from a previous 21-22 million-tonne forecast.
Argentina is the third largest producer of wheat in the world, and a major exporter of wheat to Brazil, where drought and dry conditions have delayed planting of the new soybean crop. The last La Nina event to affect the region was in 2010-2012, when Argentina’s nationwide wheat yields ranged between 1.96-3.50 tonnes/hectare. Dryness in Argentina’s grain belt has already cut into wheat planting.
A shortfall in Argentine production this season could be more than offset by favorable wheat harvests in Australia and Canada, which would help to support global supplies and possibly cap any price gains. However, Brazil would need to look elsewhere for available supply, while its usual backup wheat supplier, the US, struggles with its own dry conditions.
This is part of a series of La Niña impacts on crop production, stay tuned for future reports.
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