In 1999/2000, Argentina is forecast to increase planted area over last season to the major field crops (wheat, soybeans, corn, sunflowerseed, cotton and sorghum). With the exception of cotton and sunflowerseeds, all these crops are projected to equal or exceed the 1998/99 season plantings, as producers seek to maximize revenue. Record wheat and corn areas were planted in the 1996/97 season in response to high international prices, bringing a record total area into production. For the three years since then, total planted area for the major crops has exceeded 21.5 million hectares, almost 20 percent higher than the average previous 5 years. Wheat and corn area have fluctuated somewhat year-to-year, while areas planted to soybeans and sunflowerseed have been generally increasing. Although soybean area this year is forecast to be unchanged from 1998/99, the second crop soybean area is expected to increase due to recent stronger soybean prices and a larger wheat area. For sunflowerseeds, lower prices relative to other crops and a dry start for planting has constrained area this season. Cotton area is forecast to drop below the 1998/99 level as three consecutive poor crops and little government support has left the producers in a tight financial situation.
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