Farm Progress America, April 25, 2024

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Farm Progress America, April 25, 2024

Mike Pearson tells us planting is progressing here in the USA. But in South America, producers are counting harvest progress, and Argentina's harvest is getting smaller.

Historically, Argentina the world's third corn exporter in the world. It was expected to produce a record crop after a years long drought and an election cycle that saw farmers get excited about their economic prospects.

Last fall, when Argentine farmers were preparing for planting, analysts expected the country to produce 56.5 million metric tons of corn, a staggering volume for a country up until 2014 had never produced more than 30 million tons.

But with harvest now 15 percent complete, analysts are revising down their crop expectations as swarms of leaf hoppers decimate corn plants ahead of combines.

The Leaf Hopper is a small insect between 1/8" and a half inch long, wedge shaped with big wins used to fly plant to plant.

Leaf hoppers suck sap from the plants and shrubs and carry the disease Spiroplasma which causes Corn Stunt Disease robbing the plant of yield.

Christian Russo, head of Ag Estimates at Rosario Grain Exchange told reporters, "Corn is very effected and this is something we fear and worries us. It is likely a big factor in losses which will not be minor."

So far, the Leaf Hopper infestation has estimated to have done $1.3 Billion in damage to the crop.

The worse hurt regions in the north with yields hitting 40-50 percent of their historical averages.

The Leaf Hoppers which thrive in humid and wet conditions have been spotted in areas they usually do not appear with Economist Russo saying the effect was hard in the regions, Santa Fe and Cordoba, the core agriculture region of the country.

Rosario Grain Exchange estimated that the corn yield has shrunk by 6 million metric tons with production expected at 50.5 million tons.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange has cut their estimates even further to 49.5 million metric tons.

While, Argentina corn farmers grapple with the Leaf Hopper pest, robbing yield, soy producers say yields should be strong with the country expected to produce 50 million metric tons of soybeans. More than double the drought hit production of last year pushng millions of soy meal and oil into global markets.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness .

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