They warn that wheat production would fall by 25 percent this year in the core zone

The first surveys on the intention to sow wheat in Argentina for the 2022/23 campaign are not encouraging. Despite the high price of cereal on the international market due to the war in Ukraine, the Rosario Stock Exchange estimates that 10 percent less will be planted in the core zone than in the previous campaign, when the wheat area reached 1.7 million tons.

“If it doesn’t rain the 100 mm that are missing to start with a reasonably loaded soil profile, the drop in planting intention could be greater”, they warn from the Santa Fe town of Bigand. “In the region there are producers who are still waiting and trying not to get off wheat and others who do not hesitate to point out a 15% drop compared to the hectares planted a year ago. El Trébol, Carlos Pellegrini and Cañada Rosquín will try to maintain the same area as last season”, details the entity from Rosario.

Key factors

In addition to a drop of 160,000 hectares in the planted area, the BCR mentions some factors that would determine the final volume of wheat, and also the quality. One of them is the level of fertilization, in a context of meteoric rise in the value of fertilizers. “This year, wheat is a question of quantity, due to the hectares that are planted, but also of quality. The technological level will be very different from what was being used”, comment the technicians of the area.

On the one hand, the starters to be used, both in wheat and corn, will be of inferior quality. “The most complete products will be left aside, to use others with fewer nutrients. The nutrition of the crop will go down in quality”, they say. On the other hand, “nitrogen fertilization, which had been on the rise, adapting to the real needs of soils and crops, will go back to values ​​not seen in recent years. In this campaign, the dose will not be enough to cover the requirements and obtain the potential of the crop.”

The other factor that generates doubts regarding planting, according to the Rosario Stock Exchange, is the availability of moisture. “The rains with which the first fortnight of April closed prevailed over the eastern fringe of the core zone, but with a negative gradient that is accentuated towards the west of the province of Córdoba”, the climatologist José Luis Aiello points out in the report.

The national landscape

At the national level, this drop in planting intentions in the core zone has a significant impact. According to the planting intention survey carried out by the Buenos Aires Cereal Exchange (BCBA), the area occupied with wheat will reach 6.5 M ha throughout the country, which represents a year-on-year drop of 200,000 ha since in the previous campaign 6.7 M ha were planted. However, even with this 3% decrease, the area will be higher than the average planting of the last five seasons, which was 6.3 M ha.

Among the factors that discourage the intention of sowing of the producers, according to the Buenos Aires entity, are at the head the high costs of the inputs that the crop requiresthe difficulties for the supply of fertilizers and fuels, and the policies of export duties and commercial restrictions that impact on the prices received for the cereal.