Reuters – Rains have been ample in key parts of Argentina’s breadbasket province of Buenos Aires, but they have been uneven and raised concern about crop yields in some isolated areas, a grower and climatologist said Feb. 3.
The South American grains powerhouse is a major source of corn and soybean exports and Argentina’s top supplier of soymeal livestock feed. Harvest of both crops starts in March.
“On my farm it’s really, really dry. The same is true on other farms in this area. But these are like islands of drought because in most parts of the province the soil moisture is OK,” said Pedro Vigneau, who is growing corn and soy this season as well has raising cattle.
“The cows are going thirsty,” he said, a note of concern rising in his voice. “We are expecting up to 40 millimetres of rain late this week and that will help. But we need more than 100 millimetres to be at an optimal level.
”Vigneau’s farm is located south of the Salado River, in the town of Bolivar. The province’s most fertile areas are north of the river, where rains have been uniformly adequate.
“The most productive areas north of the river, like Pergamino, Junin and General Villegas, are in good shape. They have water reserves,” said German Heinzenknecht, a meteorologist at consultancy Applied Climatology in Buenos Aires.
“Bolivar is a good example of the pockets of dryness we are seeing,” Heinzenknecht said, adding that precipitation in areas south of the Salado was expected.
“Those rains will not be enough to solve the problem. But they should provide a bridge to get farms to the next storms later in the month,” he said, adding that the isolated dryness was not severe enough to threaten national production estimates.