Argentina's 2001/02 soybean production is estimated at a record 29.5 million tons, up 0.75 million or 3 percent from last month and up 6 percent from last season's revised estimate of 27.8 million tons. Yield is forecast above average at 2.61 tons per hectare due to good growing conditions. First-crop soybeans escaped most of the potential damage from the February dryness that affected some fields at the end of podfill. The recent March rains have alleviated dryness in the main growing areas, improving the conditions for second-crop soybeans.
Soybean harvest has started and is 6 percent complete as of March 29, 2002, similar to last year's pace. Harvested area is forecast at a record 11.3 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month and up 9 percent from last season. Argentine producers used the situation provided by flooding problems that affected planting corn and sunflower to increase soybean area. Additionally, soybeans are the low-cost choice compared to most other crops. The cost of production for soybeans is $US100 per hectare versus $US200 per hectare for corn. The costs for soybeans are even lower if farmers save seed to replant, a common practice.
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