Similar to the situation with Argentina’s producers, Midwest corn farmers were hit with a damaging July heat wave that coincided with their crop’s critical pollination phase. In Argentina, the growing season is currently at the equivalent to the beginning of July in the U.S., Harms said. Argentina has received less than 50 percent of its normal rainfall, he said.
“At this point, large-scale production reductions have not occurred,” Harms said in a report last week. “However, the weather during the month of January will be critical to South American corn production.”
Another analyst, Michael Cordonnier of Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc., also recently trimmed his outlook for South America’s crops. Cordonnier, who is based in Hinsdale, Ill., lowered his Argentina corn harvest estimate by 2 million metric tons, to 25 million metric tons, citing adverse weather.
The USDA may follow suit with cuts to its own estimates for Argentina and Brazil production, some analysts say.
In its monthly Supply and Demand report in December, the USDA predicted Argentina would harvest a corn crop of 29 million metric tons, or 1.14 billion bushels, up 29 percent from the previous year and an all-time high. Last year’s U.S. harvest totaled about 312.7 million metric tons, or 12.31 billion bushels.
The USDA is scheduled to release its next Supply and Demand updates Jan. 12.
South America’s crops still have time to recover from dry conditions if timely rains arrive this month, some noted. Argentina’s corn and soybean crops are typically planted in October and November and harvested in March and April.
Lack of rainfall hurt early-planted crops in some areas of Argentina, reducing potential yields, Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said in a Dec. 29 report. However, the later-seeded crops “have more chances to recover from their present water stress, achieving yields which could offset those of the early crops,” the exchange said.