A top official at Argentina's agriculture ministry on Tuesday pegged the country’s 2012-2013 corn harvest at 28-30 million metric tons (mmt), but the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was a bit more cautious with its production outlook.
"There is a lot of corn, and in exceptional condition," Deputy Agriculture Ministry Oscar Solis told Reuters News Service. "The range will be roughly between 28 and 30 mmt."
Solis’ forecast was up from one of 24.5 mmt offered last fall by Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, but in line with USDA, which on Friday upped its Argentine crop estimate to 28 mmt from 27.5 million.
Meanwhile, the FAO on Tuesday estimated Argentina’s corn crop 2.5 mmt lower at 25.5 million, which would still be a record and 4.5 mmt above last year’s crop.
The FAO noted that sowing of Argentina’s corn crop is "virtually complete" and covers about 4.6 million hectares (11.4 million acres), down 8% from last year’s record.
"Warm and dry weather in late December and early January benefited late sowing activities and the earlier-planted crops which are reported in good conditions," the FAO said. "The abundant rains of the past months have resulted in favorable soil moisture but may cause higher-than-normal diseases during the growing season."
The season started with heavy August-November storms that flooded large areas of Argentina’s crop belt, raising concerns that many areas would not be planted.
Improved conditions since then have allowed producers to get most areas planted and have set the stage for healthy yields, however, Argentina’s crop belt has turned hot and dry this week, raising some new crop concerns.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.