Farmer Focus: Wheat drilling delayed in Argentina

Due to rains of up to 70mm in recent weeks, this year’s drilling has been delayed. I have planted 184ha of the planned 250ha area of wheat so far, but this is 30 days behind last year when we had planted 100% of the scheduled area at this stage, writes Federico Rolle.

To complete my plantings I will have to wait for suitable conditions. A lack of dry weather, cold temperatures, and highly saturated soil, mean many of the plots may not be at their best.

The poor conditions could pose a risk for this year’s wheat plantings across Argentina preventing any potential growth, as farmers will not be able to travel on the land and finish any area that is yet to be drilled.

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Long cycle wheat varieties are nearing the end of their optimum drilling date and climatic conditions don’t look promising so many growers will be opting for shorter cycle varieties.

These give the possibility of a later planting window until July 15. However, the downside of this is a lower yield potential.

The level of weed control is excellent and I think weeds will not compete with the crop in the early stages.

To date about 15% of the projected 4.3m hectares has been planted this season and if this this area could be reached it would be 20% above the 2013-14 season when 3.62m hectares were planted.

However, with this 15% equating to about 500,000ha planted, we are still well below the 750,000ha planted at the same time in the previous year.

So, the excess water, flooding, and poor unpaved roads have hindered this year’s wheat planting, and if we add to this the futures price decrease to December 2014 (harvest time in Argentina) $205/t a month ago and now $180/t, and complications on wheat marketing and retention taxes imposed by our government, the future outlook becomes more unpredictable.

Federico Rolle farms 2,250ha of rented arable land in the Pampa area of Argentina. He grows soya beans, sorghum, maize and wheat using no-till techniques and GM crops. He has a part-time role helping Brown & Co in the region