Mar 26, 2024

2023/24 Argentina Soybeans Impacted by Heavy Storms

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Strong storms associated with "super cell" thunderstorms rolled across Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, and Entre Rios last Wednesday and Thursday leaving a path of destruction. The province of Buenos Aires recorded winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (equal to a Category 1 hurricane) accompanied by large hail and heavy rain causing widespread damage to structures and probably crops.

The region of southern Santa Fe, Entre Rios, and northern Buenos Aires did not need any additional rainfall because the region has been inundated by heavy rains during the month of March with some areas receiving more than 300 mm during the month (12 inches). Rainfall amounts of 8 inches or more from the storms were common. Small areas of central and southern Santa Fe received an additional 16 inches of precipitation just last week.

The extent of damage to the crops is undetermined at this point, but there is expected to be excessive lodging and localized flooding especially in low lying areas. It is hard to say how big of an area was impacted, but probably it is less than 10% to 15% of the total crop acreage in Argentina although it is some of the most productive land in Argentina. The soybean estimate was left unchanged this week while we await further information concerning potential crop damage.

At the time of the storms, the corn in Argentina was 3.7% harvested and the soybeans were in the process of filling pods. Any flooded soybeans are going to have problems with moldy seed and seed sprouting in the pods, which could result in a total loss. There was lodging and stalk breakage of mature corn, which is going to result in lost yield. The extent of the crop damage will only become evident once the water drains away and fortunately, dry weather is in the forecast for at least this week.

Ironically, the rains last week were welcome news in northern Santa Fe which had not received any significant rain in over 6 months. In areas where the rainfall was not excessive, the moisture will be beneficial for seed development. Crop estimates in Argentina had been inching higher in recent weeks due to beneficial weather, but the recent storms are expected to trim yields in localized areas.

Approximately 35% of the early planted soybeans are approaching physiological maturity and 50% of the later planted soybeans are filling pods. Anticipated soybean yields in the core production areas are in the range of 4,000 kg/ha (59.6 bu/ac) with a peak of 4,500 kg/ha (67 bu/ac). In western Buenos Aires and northern La Pampa where it was hotter and dryer in February, soybean yields are expected to be in the range of 3,100 kg/ha (46 bu/ac). These yield estimates were made prior to the heavy rains of late last week.

The soybeans in Argentina were rated 16% poor/very poor, 53% fair, and 31% good/excellent as of late last week. The good/excellent percentage was up 1% compared to the prior week. The soil moisture for the soybeans was rated 11% short/very short, 78% favorable/optimum, and 1% saturated. The favorable/optimum percentage was up 1% compared to the prior week. Below is the Argentina soybean rating for March 21, 2024 from the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.


2022/23 Argentina Soybean Ratings*

ConditionSoil Moisture
Poor/V. Poor %Good/Excellent %Short/V ShortFavorable/Optimum
Feb. 14, 2024 19 (53) 31 (10) 27 (68) 73 (32)
Feb. 21, 202417 (58) 31 (2) 33 (72) 67 (28)
Feb. 28, 202418 (66) 30 (2) 27 (77) 73 (23)
Mar. 6, 202417 (60) 29 (3) 28 (73) 72 (27)
Mar. 13, 202416 (75) 30 (2) 23 (70) 77 (30)
Mar. 21, 202416 (72) 31 (2) 21 (65) 78 (35)

*Source: Buenos Aires Grain Exchange – Crop Condition & Development Stages