Argentina’s peanut crop has shifted from an extreme and damaging drought to wet conditions that could threaten what remains of crop yields and quality.
Across parts of the country’s peanut belt, a prolonged period of unsettled weather has brought very high relative humidity, generalized rains, long periods of drizzle and an absence of sunny skies for days at a time.
From April 1 until May 10, weather observers recorded more than 25 days under those conditions – a worst-case scenario for both peanuts still in the ground and peanuts that had been dug but remained in the field.
That contrasts sharply with the weather in January through March when drought settled over a significant part of the country’s peanut production area. During those three months, only about 2.36 inches of rain fell at one key weather data site.
So far, 70% of the peanut crop has been dug but only 20% has been gathered.
All this adds another layer of uncertainty to how the Argentine peanut crop will finally turn out for the 2017/18 season. With the current conditions, any losses stemming from the drought will be further compounded by this extended precipitation and muddy fields. Wet conditions also are now hindering further digging.
Obviously, this is quite troubling for Argentina’s peanut industry and will make it difficult in the near term to estimate the crop’s final size and the effect on quality due to these freakish weather patterns.