Argentina: Soya bean production high

Farmers Weekly rounds up a year’s news through the eyes of farmers across the globe. Today we hear from Federico Rolle in Argentina

Federico Rolle farms 2,250ha of rented arable land in Pampa, Argentina.

The climate effect in Argentina has brought significant rain since last August, causing delays in the sowing of maize and soya beans. But November has been dry and soya bean planting has made good progress. The planted area already exceeds 70% in the core production area of the Humid Pampas region.

The government has estimated that if the weather is favourable, soya bean production would reach a record 57m tonnes in 2013. The threat of a larger crop is causing some producers to sell 20-25% of their expected harvest forward at US$330/t (£205/t) of soya beans and US$200/t (£124/t) of corn, to cover, at least, their direct costs of production.

Although international prices of dairy products are on an upward trend, prices received by dairy farmers here in Argentina in the past two years remained stagnant at AR$1.51/litre (19p/litre).

Key facts

Population 40.7 million

Average rainfall 591mm

Agricultural area 140m ha

The country punches above its weight on soya bean exports. It ranks as the fifth-largest producer but accounts for half of all global exports of the crop

That does not cover production costs at AR$1.97/litre (25p/litre) and is also very much less than the AR$6/litre (77p/litre) that many Argentine citizens pay per litre of milk on supermarket shelves.

This has created tensions in the relationship between processors and dairy farmers due to lack of profitability and future viability.

Taxes on exports of meat (15% on exports of chilled and frozen meat) and the fall of the real exchange rate for meat (25% inflation and only 6% devaluation) mean that Argentine beef can hardly compete, as the cost is between 30-35% more in dollars than that of beef produced in Brazil.

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