Argentine corn sowing booms on optimism over new government

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Buenos Aires | Reuters — A late-season corn planting flurry in No. 4 world exporter Argentina could push output to the same level as the previous crop year, thanks to the policies of the new government, the director of the local maize industry chamber said Friday.

Growers across the Pampas farm belt applauded the November election of Mauricio Macri, a free-markets advocate who during his first month in office has reversed many of the market controls imposed by previous President Cristina Fernandez.

Inaugurated on Dec. 10, Macri has abolished wheat and corn export taxes along with the quota system that Fernandez used to curb international shipments of both crops. He has also relaxed currency controls, prompting a 30 per cent currency devaluation that has made Argentine farmers more competitive.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange has forecast 2015-16 corn acreage at 2.85 million hectares, well under the 3.4 million in the 2014-15 season, which yielded a 26.3 million-tonne harvest.

But, with several weeks of corn planting to go in some parts of Argentina, Martin Fraguio, executive director of the Maizar corn industry chamber, said in an interview that farmers are closing in on the 3.4 million-hectare figure.

“It’s possible that this season could be equal to last, both in corn planting area and production,” Fraguio said.

Higher-than-expected corn exports would hit a world market already weighed down by high international stockpiles.

More than 90 per cent of corn planted in Argentina is genetically modified. GMO seed sales have jumped since the Nov. 22 election, as have related chemicals glyphosate and atrazine, sold by companies such as Monsanto.

“Planting area could have fallen 30 per cent, depending on the outcome of the presidential election. Now we’re talking about a fall of zero to 10 per cent,” Fraguio said.

Corn is still being sown in northern parts of Cordoba province, and other northern regions. Growers who are expected to harvest the remaining 20 per cent of 2015-16 wheat in southeast Buenos Aires province are weighing whether to jump in and plant corn in those fields before the sowing window closes.

“These areas could make the difference between meeting last year’s production, or having a small reduction,” Fraguio said.

Early planted 2015-16 corn is now flowering in the main Pampas corn belt, centered in the bread-basket province of Buenos Aires, under what have been ideal weather conditions.

Reporting for Reuters by Hugh Bronstein and Maximiliano Rizzi in Buenos Aires.

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  • MarkDonners

    GMO and its associated lethal pesticides and herbicides are dangerous poisons. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations.

    There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and this means a catastrophe for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide.

    GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

    GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

    GMOs do NOT increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.

    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, Agent Orange herbicides, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing.

    An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant )

    The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines.

    So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.

    • Pogo333

      So, Mark, when will you actually carry on a discussion of these refuted points, instead of simply copying and pasting them over and over in the hope that repetition will morph them into fact? I’ve offered to discuss Bt toxins and the gut flora as a starting point, and that offer still stands.

COPA Medallion COPA finalist in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
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