- Title: In Argentina's Pampas, arriving rain clouds spell hope for arid soils
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: AZUL, ARGENTINA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WHEAT FIELD VARIOUS OF GASTON BLANCHARD, A FARMER IN ARGENTINA'S PAMPAS GRAINS BELT WALKING IN FIELD BLANCHARD LOOKING AT CROPS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) GASTON BLANCHARD, A FARMER IN ARGENTINA'S PAMPAS GRAINS BELT, SAYING: "We started with good soil moisture. But after July and August it was two months in a row with zero water and that usually does not happen, it happened this year, especially two months in a row. In September it rained but 15 millimetres, of an average of 60 millimetres that should be normal for September. So the crops suffered a lot of water stress and although they are not in a critical period of performance definition, they would be lacking water fast so that they can generate good reproductive structures and the yield is not affected. They are still recovering but they need water, let's say." VARIOUS WHEAT CROPS WHICH LACK WATER VARIOUS OF WHEAT PLANTATIONS VARIOUS OF ESTEBAN COPATI, HEAD OF AGRICULTURAL FORECASTS AT THE BUENOS AIRES GRAINS EXCHANGE, WORKING ON COMPUTER IN OFFICE
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 12:47
- Keywords: soybeans grains belt rain much-needed showers wheat and corn wheat crop dry weather Gaston Blanchard a farmer in Argentina's Pampas
- Location: AZUL, ARGENTINA
- City: AZUL, ARGENTINA
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Environment,Weather
- Reuters ID: LVA001B03K8QV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Gaston Blanchard, a farmer in Argentina's Pampas grains belt, has his eyes on the horizon waiting for rain. Clouds are starting to build, which he hopes will bring much-needed showers for his wheat crop, parched by months of dry weather.
A lot is hanging on the rains for Blanchard - and Argentina, one of the world's top sellers of soybeans and a key player in wheat and corn. Arid weather two seasons ago hammered crops, while helpful weather drove record harvests earlier this year.
In Blanchard's farm, outside the town of Azul, it's clear water is needed. The tips of the wheat plant leaves are burned and yellow, and unusually the earth furrows of the June-planted crop are easily visible, a sign growth has been delayed.
"We started with good soil moisture. But after July and August it was two months in a row with zero water," Blanchard explained to Reuters, while standing among the plants in his 330-hectare lot 300 km (186.41 miles) southwest of capital city Buenos Aires.
September did not bring much relief either, Blanchard said, with only 15 mm of rainfall in the month, a pattern reflected in key growing areas of Cordoba, La Pampa and Buenos Aires province, a region which has 40% of the country's wheat.
Esteban Copati, head of agricultural forecasts at the Buenos Aires grains exchange, said that in areas where recent rains had not reached above 15-20 mm, crops were being affected.
"It is likely that the lack of moisture and cold will have a direct impact on the crop, on the yield," he told Reuters.
The exchange has previously forecast a record 2019/20 wheat crop of 21 million tons, but warned last week the crop in some parts of the country was in critical condition.
Rain clouds are, however, bringing hope, at what is a key juncture for the crop.
He added weather patterns appeared to be returning to normal, with rains expected in October and in the last months of the year when wheat harvesting begins.
Farmer Blanchard said his wheat crop had received about 10 mm of rain in early October, though he needed more as his crops were still in poor condition to help build their key plant structures and boost their quality.
(Production: Miguel Lo Bianco)
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