Guillermo D. Rueda / [email protected]
For greater adaptability, for profitability and for the benefits in rotation. These are the three reasons invoked by Ing. Agr. Gustavo Thiessen, agricultural markets consultant, about the unusual growth in recent years of the cereal that has already displaced soy: corn.
The data is not less when the reference is made with respect to the southwest of Buenos Aires, where the crop is increasingly interested in the producers.
“The map has changed a lot with respect to sowing crops and in our region the demand for information is increasing,” he added.
“From 2008 to date the concept of management by the producer has been modified since, in addition, a lot has evolved in terms of genetics,” said Eng. Thiessen, from the town of Coronel Dorrego.
Ing. Agr. Gustavo Thiessen, agricultural market consultant.
“Today damages have been knocked down. This represents a paradigm shift, because the producer of the SOB is already familiar with a mixed production system ”, he assured.
In our region, more than 10 years ago the average corn per hectare was 4,500 kilos, but today there are batches of up to 10,000 K / H.
“And before, three times more seed was used. Today it is one of the few crops that by reducing a very important cost, which is the seed, raises the productive averages. In other words, more is harvested by inverting the equations and, for example, that money (for seeds) is now destined for fertilizers ”, explained Eng. Thiessen, in dialogue with The new one.
“In the southwest of Buenos Aires the hectares of corn have multiplied in these years. And not only as first-class maize, but more and more work is being done with second-rate maize at late sowing dates ”, he indicated.
“You can’t go to Coronel Suárez that way, because of the frosts, but in the region near the coast, up to 30 or 50 kilometers away, second-rate corn works very well. For example, with sowing in late December or early January with the so-called precocious, short and explosive cycle. They require a slightly more demanding technological package, but they can even enter the rotation ”, he added.
The analyst said that corn is also interesting for livestock, depending on the termination of animals.
“Today almost all livestock establishments have some lots with corn rotation,” he said.
The competition with soybeans was resolved from the (current) lower price of the oilseed and due to the complexities in the management of weeds, beyond a lower water requirement in our region.
“Being a grass, corn has a superior range of products for weed control compared to an oilseed such as soybeans and even sunflower,” said Thiessen.
He also alluded to the current price of a commodity such as corn, which is around 210 dollars per ton, where the equations appear easier to close if good management is carried out and the weather accompanies.
“It is also true that companies invest a lot to improve the crop and add events. Now there is the Enlist system, which is a very good technology, beyond all the pre-emergencies for weed control that, in sunflower or soybean, is much more complicated to deal with ”, he added.
“Why do they continue to plant soybeans and sunflowers? For two reasons. Because the sunflower harvest is generally in the middle, or end, of March and provides liquidity. And with soybeans something similar happens: it is when money is needed, in April, and the producer demands resources to think about the fine. This is, for a safe box and, also, for rotation, of course “, he explained.
Eng. Thiessen alluded to a key aspect regarding corn production in the southwest of Buenos Aires and, also, in an important area of the province of La Pampa: the proximity to the port of Ingeniero White.
“In 2012, when the diffusion of low-density sowing for corn arose, information began to be generated in different organisms, such as Aapresid, where an eventual core zone for this crop was anticipated, substantially because it could develop between 100 and 200 kilometers from the port ”, he said.
“Today, freight is a direct impact cost and that is why planting in the SOB is a business that closes everyone,” said Thiessen.
“When corn was at $ 140 (a ton), only those producers who were near the ports were profitable. The rest had to be handled for the provision for feedlots, balanced and others ”, recalled the consultant.
He also said that corn has very diverse markets.
“Today there is a lot of demand for balanced and this is another point that ensures a market. Because corn is the grain with the highest amount of by-products at the edible level, from ethanol to oils ”, he described.
In the country, the 2020/21 cycle ended with a record of corn planting with 7.4 million hectares and, for the 2021/22 season, the intention – according to the Strategic Guide for Agro (GEA) – climbs to another record : 7.7 M / H.
According to the producers themselves, there is a tendency to add more batches with state-of-the-art technological management. If so, average yields would continue to improve with the only external conditioner: the weather.
Previous calculations estimate a year-on-year growth in the cultivated area of 4.6%.
Thus, with an average yield of 80.4 quintals per hectare, the estimated production horizon is 54 million tons; that is, 5% more volume than the production record achieved in 2018/19 and 2019/20, when harvests of 51.5 million tons were coincided.
The estimates are given within the framework of a possible total planting occupation in the country of 38.7 million hectares for the 2021/22 season; that is, 1% with respect to the previous cycle.
If it materializes, according to GEA, it would be the largest planted area in history, surpassing by almost 250,000 hectares the best mark achieved in the 2019/20 campaign.
The improvement in international prices in the first half of the year, which brought the reference prices to the highest in around a decade, has played a fundamental role in improving profitability in marginal lots and encouraging their sowing.
Following the same thread, Argentina’s cereal production —increased in wheat and sunflower, and a greater boost in corn— could reach the record of 140 million tons.
The meteorological conditions put the conditions in the 2020/2021 campaign, because they were mostly unfavorable for the development of winter crops.
Likewise, a humidity deficit, combined with high temperatures in February and March of this year, subtracted quintals from soybeans, forcing the harvest estimate to be adjusted downward.
Thus, the total grain production for the 2020/21 campaign was 6% below the previous cycle: 127.7 million tons.
2020/21 campaign: what happened in the region
The 2020/21 corn cycle is practically over in our region, according to the latest Biweekly Agricultural Report from the local Cereal Exchange.
“The area dedicated to this crop was sustained due to its adaptability to the different productive environments of the region. The sowing was carried out normally in the central and southern areas, while the northwest presented a delay due to the lack of rains during the months of November and December ”, it was indicated.
It was also analyzed that, due to the coincidence with the flowering period during the month of January, the abundant rainfall recorded favored the early sowing lots.
The last two seasons of regional corn. / Source: BCP
“On the contrary, those of late sowing were the most affected by the water deficit of the months of February and March, when the critical stage of yield formation was passing,” it was clarified.
Likewise, the millimeter films recorded in the second half of March and the month of April, combined with mild temperatures, favored second-class crops.
The regional average yield ended at 6,150 kilos per hectare, 3% below the average for the 2019/20 season (6,400 K / H).
In the northern zone, the work ended with an average of 7,500 K / H (-4%), being the area that presented the greatest percentage drop with respect to the past cycle. The maximum averages emerged in the parties of General Villegas and Rivadavia, where the proportion of early planting is higher.
The central zone ended the season with 5,100 K / H (-2%). In turn, the breakdown of this region concluded as follows:
—Centro-pampa: It was the most affected by the water deficit at the time of sowing and during flowering. It closed the cycle with an average yield of 4,600 K / H (-12%).
—Centro-Oeste: The closing of the cycle shows an average of 4,800 K / H (+ 5%). It was the only sub-area with a relative increase compared to last year. Coronel Suárez stands out, with 6,500 K / H, explained by the greater record of accumulated rains and lots with better aptitude for the cereal.
—Centro-este: Decreases 2% with respect to the last cycle and ended at 6,000 K / H. The highest yields were observed in the lots located in the coastal area.
The southern zone closed the season with an average of 3,800 K / H, (+ 19%). This increase in yield is explained by the good distribution of rainfall in most of the cycle and the good results obtained in the districts of Puan and Tornquist.