Argentina Corn Yield to Drop 10-15 Percent from Pest Pressure

South American corn production numbers will be lower than expected, especially in Argentina. Dr. Michael Cordonnier with Soybean and Corn Advisors, Inc., says Argentina’s corn crop is suffering from unexpected pest pressure.

He says, “USDA left their soybean estimate unchanged at 50 (million tons). But they did lower their corn by one million 55. The big news in Argentina is damage caused by a corn stunt disease. This is a disease transmitted by a little moth called corn leaf hopper, and it causes a lot of damage to corn, especially in late-developing corn. Now the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, they lowered their corn estimate two-and-a-half million to 49-and-a-half, and these estimates are six to seven million times below initial estimates.”

The process Argentina farmers use to plant their corn is conducive for the plant pests to spread. Dr. Cordonnier says, “The thing in Argentina is they plant their corn in two phases. The first phase is September-October when they plant about 40 percent of the corn, and the second phase is December and January when they plant about 60 percent. These corn leaf hoppers move from more developed corn to later-developing corn. The later the corn, the more chances of being infected by this corn stunt disease, which is a bacterial disease. Once the plant has it, there’s no recuperation.”

Corn leaf hoppers are new to Argentina’s farmers. Argentina’s corn production will take a big drop because of the pests.

Dr. Cordonnier says, “That’s a big drop. six to seven billion tons, that would be like 10 to 15 percent depending on where you started. So yes, that’s a big drop, and it came sort of all of a sudden. Two months ago, no one was worried about this, so it came out of the clear blue skies, so to speak. And normally the market would respond to something like this, but the market has so many other sorts of negative connotations; China demand and exports, all that sort of thing so, the market hasn’t responded. Now to answer your question, that’s a big drop.”

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Story courtesy of the NAFB News Service