Alarm in Argentina at over-planting of soy
Corn growers account for 28 percent of Argentine fertilizer sales so far this year, down a touch from 29 percent in the previous season, Fertilizar said. The group expects 4.47 million hectares to be planted with commercial use corn this year, up 2 percent from 2012/13.
The agriculture ministry expects Argentine farmers to plant 2013/14 corn on 5.7 million hectares, having changed its measuring criteria in May to include corn used for animal feed.
Wheat fertilizer account for 20 percent for 20 percent of overall sales this year, just higher than 19 percent in 2012/13.
Fertilizar sees an 8 percent jump in 2013/14 wheat area to 3.95 million hectares. The government sees 2013/14 wheat area at 3.4 million hectares, down from its previous 3.9 million-hectare forecast and the 3.16 million hectares planted with wheat in 2012/13, according to agriculture ministry data.
Demand for wheat has soared in Argentina after the government approved abundant amounts of the grain to be exported based on optimistic 2012/13 production forecasts, leaving little in the country to be milled into bread.
Fernandez, re-elected in 2011 on promises of increasing government's role in the economy, uses export curbs on wheat and corn to ensure ample domestic food supplies. The policy, widely criticized by farmers, backfired this year due to inaccurate early season crop estimates.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast Argentina crop production at a downwardly-revised 26 million tonnes of corn in the 2013/14 crop year, 12 million tonnes of wheat and 53.5 million tonnes of soy.
Soybean exports are not curbed in Argentina, but they are taxed at 35 percent. The farm sector generally disagrees with Fernandez's policies, which include heavy foreign exchange controls and a passive approach to inflation, clocked by private economists at 25 percent, on of the highest rates in the world.
The threat of soil depletion in a major food supplier such as Argentina meanwhile risks robbing world consumers of crop yield growth. Global food demand is expected to double by 2050, according to the United Nations.
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