(Photo: a technician of Don Mario shows soybean plots to farmers in a field day at Cordoba province)

Buenos Aires, December 4, 2019. It is very difficult for anyone to access to accurate information about local farming. Statistics differ among sources, even if the sources come from different Government branches.

Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries implemented a unique registry for farmers, named SISA, for its Spanish acronym, where they must declare (among other information) the soybean planted area and the name of the variety used. This information is very useful for the Seed National Institute (INASE) to prevent or fight the illegal seed commerce.

According to the latest report from INASE, in the last 2018/19 campaign, 59,414 farmers (persons or companies) completed the requirement, involving 15.33 million hectares planted with the oilseed. Perhaps these figures are the most accurate approach to know the actual number of soybean farmers, despite the fact that the estimations’ office from the Ministry projected 17 million hectares for that campaign.

Around 85% of the soybean farmers are located in Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Córdoba provinces, and around 3,000 of them planted the crop in more than one province. Also, there is a huge scale difference by province. While in Santa Fe province, each farmer planted 147 hectares, in Salta province, in the north of the country, the average rounds 937 hectares.

Another interesting fact is that a third of all producers planted 81% of the total soybean area or 12.44 million hectares. In this case, the average planted area climbs to nearly 700 hectares.

It is worth noting that despite the growth in compliance with the official requirement, certification of legal seeds plunged during the last season. The INASE report shows that for the 2018/19 campaign, this institute only certified 304K tons of seeds, the lowest volume since the 2012/13 campaign when 430K tons were certified by the INASE.

As far as seed companies are concerned, Don Mario heads the farmer’s preferences.  Between the top ten most planted varieties, Don Mario holds six, representing 30% of the total area. But the most planted is held by Nidera, which accounted for 1.7 million hectares or 11% of the total area. Bayer appears ranked six with M6410 IPRO (Asgrow brand), while Syngenta appears ranked nine with SP4x4.