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ECONOMY | 06-07-2019 09:00

Corn to surpass soybean production this year, says Argentina

For the first time in two decades, maize production in Argentina will surpass soybean production this year, the government has predicted.

This year’s corn harvest for the 2018-2019 season is expected to come in at a record 57 million tonnes, the Secretary of Agribusiness’ office projected on Friday. Soybean production will total around 55.6 million tonnes, it added. The anticipated figures would push production up 31 percent compared to last year, when the harvest was hit by Argentina’s worst drought in half a century. The last time the corn crop surpassed the soy crop in Argentina was back in 1998, when 19.3 million tonnes of maize were harvested.

Analysts say corn production has picked up as its price per ton has risen. Last month, a ton of corn came brought in US$160, compared to an average of US$151 over the past five years.

Corn crops are subject to a levy of roughly 10 percent, introduced by the government in 2018 following the severe devaluation of the peso. Excluding supplies and costs, the gross margin for corn crops is around US$400 per hectare, Noticias Argentinas reported Friday. Prices vary according to which region of the country.

SOY HARVEST DELIVERS RECORD YIELDS

After last year’s devastating drought, soybean yields in Argentina’s famous pampas agricultural belt registered an average of 3.36 metric tons per hectare this season, analysts from the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange led by Esteban Copati announced in their weekly report this week. That is a full six percent more than the previous maximum.

According to analysts, producers and plants benefitted from good levels of humidity during the season. Last year’s harvest delivered only 35.1 million tons, with around 55.6 million tonnes produced this year.

The sowing of wheat in damp fields was also delayed, though there was a good climate in July when the plants traditionally begin to grow, which would deliver a better crop than expected.

The stock market currently foresees a record of 20.6 million tons of wheat.

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