Argentine farmers are expected to plant less soyabeans than initially forecast due to government policies and the availability of hybrid seeds leading to more corn planting, according to estimates by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported by World Grain.

Total planted area for 2021/22 was reduced to 17M ha, with an estimated abandonment of 500,000 ha, according to the report by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, World Grain wrote on 15 October.

Projected harvested area was 16.5M ha with a total production of 49.7M tonnes, which would be a reduction of 1.5M tonnes from the June projection, and was 2.3M tonnes lower than the USDA official estimate, the report said.

New export taxes set at 33% for soyabeans and 12% for corn and wheat had led to lower farm gate prices for soyabeans, according to the report, which had increased corn’s appeal compared to soyabeans.

It had also encouraged farmers to plant winter grains such as wheat and barley and grow second crop soyabeans, the USDA report said.

The increased availability of high-quality hybrid corn seed adapted to different regions had also influenced planting decisions, according to the report.

“Argentine corn yields have risen faster than soyabeans over the last 10 years and new varieties have performed better under drought stress conditions than soyabeans,” the USDA said. “A wider range of maturity dates allows farmers to make planting decisions based on when they anticipate drought stress.”