Argentina’s soybean and maize prospects boosted by rain, says Federico Rolle

Argentina’s parched soybean and maize crops got a good soaking in mid to late-January, bringing relief to worried growers and boosting prospects of good yields for my soybean crops.

The wet weather has increased the flowering, pod formation and leaf development of both early and late-planted varieties. Soil moisture reserves show a significant recovery and are now adequate. Concerns about La Niña, which has caused long droughts since December, impacting the growth of maize and soybean crops, have been largely allayed.

Advanced soybeans (35% of total planting) are currently between the early stages of pod formation and having developed pods. However, I have found the presence of some foliar diseases, including septoria glycines, with a little defoliation in the lower part of the plant, and cercospora sojina in mild form. Later-planted soybean crops are in their early reproductive stages, with canopy closing the rows, and developing well with good moisture reserves.

Crops will be exposed to disease in the coming weeks, given the microclimate between the rows of tightly-closed, large crop canopy, high temperatures (35C+) and humidity. Therefore, I’m planning preventive fungicide treatments on all fields with Opera (epoxiconazole + pyraclostrobin).

The latest estimate for the 2010-11 soybean harvest production, to be harvested in March/April, is 47m tonne, down 14.5% on last year.

However, early-sown maize crops have been hit harder, with estimates of an average yield of 6.59t/ha, giving a production of 19.5m tonne, down 13.3% on last year, again due to water deficiency in November/December.

Prices in Argentina are very high and this season’s outcomes now look good, although there is political talk of further export limitations on the maize crop.

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