Argentina Corn Harvest Struggles with Yields Down Due to Corn Stunt Disease

Argentina's corn harvest hit by corn stunt disease, leading to significant yield losses and production downgrades, while soy yields are expected to rebound, highlighting the region's agricultural challenges.

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Ebenezer Mensah
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Argentina Corn Harvest Struggles with Yields Down Due to Corn Stunt Disease

Argentina Corn Harvest Struggles with Yields Down Due to Corn Stunt Disease

Argentina's corn harvest is currently 17.2% complete, with yields reduced to 8,790 kg/ha due to the impact of corn stunt disease affecting 30-40% of the crop. The disease, caused by leaf hopper infestations, has led to losses varying from 5% to 100%, significantly impacting the overall corn production in the country.

The lack of rain in the upcoming forecast is expected to help Argentina catch up on the harvest, which is still behind compared to Brazil, where the harvest is nearing conclusion. However, the lower yields resulting from the corn stunt disease have prompted analysts to revise their production estimates downward.

The Rosario Grain Exchange has reduced its production estimate to 50.5 million metric tons, while the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange has cut its estimate further to 49.5 million metric tons, down from an initial projection of 56.5 million metric tons. The worst-hit regions in the north are experiencing yields of 40-50% of their historical averages.

The leaf hopper infestation, thriving in damp and wet conditions, has caused an estimated $1.3 billion in losses to the crop. The insects have been spotted in areas where they are not normally found, exacerbating the impact of the outbreak.

Why this matters: As the world's third-largest corn exporter, the reduced corn production in Argentina due to the corn stunt disease outbreak could have implications for global corn supplies and market values. The significant yield losses and downward revisions in production estimates highlight the vulnerability of crops to pest infestations and the importance of effective pest management strategies.

Meanwhile, soy producers in Argentina are expecting a strong yield, with the country expected to produce 50 million metric tons of soybeans, more than double the drought-hit production of the previous year. The contrasting fortunes of the corn and soybean crops in Argentina underscore the challenges faced by farmers in the region as they navigate the impacts of weather and pest-related problems.

Key Takeaways

  • Argentina's corn harvest 17.2% complete, yields reduced by corn stunt disease
  • Corn stunt disease affecting 30-40% of crop, causing 5-100% losses
  • Rosario and Buenos Aires Exchanges cut production estimates to 50.5MT and 49.5MT
  • Leaf hopper infestation causing $1.3B in losses, expanding to new areas
  • Argentina expects strong soy yields, contrasting with reduced corn production