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Argentina's Problem, America's Opportunity?



It can be a callous-sounding side of agriculture. But if one producer has an unexpected problem in production, then another producer can benefit. Could that be the case for U.S. corn producers because of troubles in Argentina?


Argentina hoped for a record corn harvest in 2024. America braced for the increased competition. Earlier this year, it looked like the competition could be on.


Argentina expected its highest corn exports in five years. Argentina’s Rosario Board of Trade predicted a 57 million-metric ton harvest. And a big reason was more favorable weather conditions. Both drought and heavy rain have traumatized the corn harvest in recent years.

Two culprits: El Nino and La Nina.


El Nino: “refers to the above-average sea-surface temperatures that periodically develop across the east-central equatorial Pacific. It represents the warm phase of the ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation) cycle.


La Nina: “refers to the periodic cooling of sea-surface temperatures across the east-central equatorial Pacific. It represents the cold phase of the ENSO cycle.”



RELATED: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) produced this video that visualizes the differences between El Nino and La Nina.  


In 2024, La Nina isn’t a concern as the weather pattern has changed, at least for Argentina. The issue now is corn stunt disease. The disease caused by bacteria can discolor and deform the plant. And as the name suggests, it stunts the overall growth.


Corn stunt disease was first named nearly 80 years ago and has limited crops in the United States.

Southern Florida dealt with Corn Stunt Spiroplasma 45 years ago. “Corn stunt is one of the most economically important diseases of maize in the US, Mexico, and Central, and South America,” cited a report by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry.



Because of the presence of corn stunt disease in Argentina, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange predicts a 20 percent decline in the country’s corn harvest this year. That will be a trend worth watching for U.S. corn farmers and investors as they look at how this decline in supply potentially increases demand for them.


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