(Photo: Esteban Copati said that the six major crops could produce 131.7 MMT versus 135.3 MMT last season)

Buenos Aires, September 25th. Today, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange (BCBA as in its Spanish acronym) is running its annual conference on the summer campaign perspective. Its Chief of Estimations, Esteban Copati, said that corn planting rise marginally to 6.4 million hectares this season versus 6.3 million last campaign 2018/19, with a forecasted production around 50 million metric tons, similar to the last harvest. But early August, 6.7 million hectares were expected for this season.

About soybean, the analyst explained that they are viewing another marginal increase in the area, from 17.4 million hectares to 17.6 million this year. Basically, the oilseed is gaining area over the sunflower in the northeast of the country and something else over the corn. But production would drop to 51 MMT from previous 55.1 MMT last campaign. “We are not viewing the exceptional weather conditions like the past season, that pushed yields to a record level”, Copati remarked.

This campaign 2019/20 is bringing some changes into respect to the last one. Now, the costs are rising, between 5 to 10%, while commodities prices are down. Since the profitability of the crops is down and, due to the higher costs of the corn (between 300 and 500 dollars per hectare) versus the soybean (between 150 to 250 depending the zone), farmers tend to plant more soybean than corn.

On the other hand, the political situation is bringing more uncertainty to the planting decisions. Farmers are afraid that if the Peronist Party win the general election on October 27th, they rise the export taxes, affecting the profitability of their crops.

Meanwhile, the BCBA expects a fall in the sunflower and a stable area of sorghum this year. In the first case, the lack of humidity in the northeast of the country during the planting window resulted in a 30% drop in the area. In a national basis, the sunflower area would reach 1.65 million hectares versus 1.9 last year, while the output is forecasted at 3.4 MMT, a half-million tons less than in the last campaign. The sorghum area could reach 750K hectares (730K in the 2018/19) and a 2.5 MMT of output.

Talking about winter crops, the BCBA projects a record wheat harvest at 21 MMT and a barley harvest at 3.8 million metric tons.

Summing the six large crops in the country, the total 2019/20 harvest could reach 131.7 MMT versus 135.3 last season.

But there is a great uncertainty into respect the weather. Analyst Eduardo Sierra told the audience that there are some chances that dry weather affects production. In fact, currently wheat is close to starting to suffer the lack of humidity. Rains during October will be necessary to assure the yields.

Also, Niña phenomenon has some chances to occur, and that could cut the summer crop production.