Overwhelmed by the lack of rain, in the southeast of Córdoba, producers are looking for a way to resist

LOS SURGENTES, Córdoba.- Only the traces of the fertilizer wheel remain from when a few months ago Gabriel Pellizzon, 53, began to prepare the lot for the campaign of wheat, that finally due to the lack of rainy could never plant. In this region of the Cordovan department of Marcos Juárez, the effects of the drought are also seen, as he told yesterday THE NATION in the case of Bigand, in Santa Fe: the producers had to reduce the sowing of the cereal by around 20% and already discount a loss of between 20 and 30% in the yield potential. In this town, which is part of a tour of this medium through the core agricultural area, the numbers are eloquent: They have registered 196 millimeters so far this year, down from 564 mm on the same date in 2021. They are 368 mm less.

Due to the lack of rainfall, among other factors, the Córdoba Cereal Exchange estimated the hectares planted in the department of Marcos Juárez at 150,000, an area less than the 193,959 hectares of the last agricultural cycle. In this province, according to information from the Drought Information System for Southern South America, less than 1% of the territory can be counted as “not dry”. The rest face varying degrees of drought.

Although a couple of weeks ago in the center and south of Córdoba there was a rain event that left between 10, 20 and even 25 mm and improved the condition of the wheat, between 100 and 150 millimeters are missing to get out of the drought condition, according to the Rosario Stock Exchange (BCR). As of the current 17, 40% of the core region was under a drought condition and the rest with “water scarcity”.

Along these lines, with a view to the coarse grains campaign, which will start next month with corn and has this province as the undisputed leader in cultivation, “a lot of water is lacking.” Therefore, here they talk about It will be a much more defensive campaign, with less investment, more soybeans and a reduction in corn. At the national level, some 400,000 hectares less of this cereal are already estimated.

We were waiting for the rain, but it never came. this lot [por el del trigo]Like many others in the area, we fertilized them in a timely manner for a short-cycle crop, but due to the drought we were unable to plant it. Here there is an investment of approximately 120 dollars per hectare that we are going to try to take advantage of with corn, but we know that the inefficiency of having applied a fertilizer four months before is quite large,” lamented Pellizzon. “We start with a neutral year perspective [en materia de clima] and it ended up confirming the year Niña”the producer added.

With the warning of another campaign with rainfall below normal, he made an analysis of the useful water at a depth of one meter in the lots in order to be able to choose the ones that had more accumulated (for a wheat of 3500 kilos, 300 mm of water is required). . The problem was that with the results that the study Pellizzon had to reduce the area it planted by around 50% compared to last season. He alone did 290 hectares.

In the land where he was born, and where his family has been producing it for a century, he also estimates a reduction in yields. Last year he took out 5000 kilos and in 2022 he calculates only 3000.

In Los Surgentes it only rained 196 mm so far this yearRicardo Pristupluk – THE NATION

In addition to being an agricultural producer, it provides planting, spraying, harvesting and transportation services in surrounding areas. It carries a survey of the rains of the last 120 years. He exemplified that in April of this year, before planting, it rained 45 mm, almost half the historical average of 120 years.

“Today the profile is not loaded for corn. Which means that planting is going to seduce the best environments, those with napa and planting dates are going to be delayed”, he indicated.

nelson romagnoli
nelson romagnoliRicardo Pristupluk – THE NATION

About 50 kilometers from Los Surgentes, in his field in Monte Buey, agronomist Nelson Romagnoli walks through the wheat plots. “We always try to make 33% of each crop (wheat-corn-soy), but this year due to the drought in the planting period we had to cancel some lots and we have not reached the desired percentage. In addition, we had to plant long cycles because the short ones were going to run out of moisture,” said the producer, who reduced the planted area of ​​the winter crop to 15%.

For more than 40 years he has been an agricultural producer. Together with his brother, Gustavo, Romagnoli runs the family business of agricultural livestock production that operates its own and rented fields within a 120-kilometer radius of Monte Buey.

He explained that since it is normal in the area that it does not rain significantly from May to mid-September, the wheat is largely supplied by the water table, but after two years with the La Niña effect, the table that was between one meter and two, it went to between 3 and 4 meters.

“It is very difficult for the crop to extract water from those depths, so wheat depends more on the rain. That is why we need it to rain well from September 10 and that this next month there are not very high temperatures”, commented.

However, the lots that have been planted so far with the cereal are “good or very good” because they had a rain in the area that, although it was small for this time, allowed the lots to “continue in the race” waiting for some other precipitation.

“We are concerned because there is beginning to be talk that a Niña is predicted and as the water table falls, there will be less water available in the soil and, in turn, less rainfall,” accurate.

Santiago Lorenzatti, 48, an agricultural engineer, advises agricultural companies that reduced the area with cereal from 25% to 30%.

Santiago Lorenzatti, advisor to agricultural companies
Santiago Lorenzatti, advisor to agricultural companiesRicardo Pristupluk – THE NATION

“We have come with a fairly significant rainfall deficit, we did not have a recharge in the fall and, although the wheat could be planted well because there was surface moisture, we started with between 50 and 70% of the maximum recharge of water in the soil. Yield prospects are already restricted. In September, a recharge of 50 to 60 mm would be essential to ensure good yields in wheat”, Indian.

Today they are already 20% below the yield potential in a normal year. “The wheat is acceptable, but we already have a cut on the expected yield and, as long as it doesn’t rain, it will fall,” he added.

Although it rained 20 millimeters in the area 15 days ago, they were “very erratic”. He detailed: “It is what allows that today we are not with greater yield cuts.”

Like Romagnoli, he indicated that the areas without groundwater will be subject to the recharges of possible rainfall in spring. For corn, the strategy would be to sow later, around December, while planting in September and October only in the best groundwater environments.

“The strategy is going to be more defensive, that is, look for medium and stable yields, rather than exploring large performance peaks,” he added.

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