The heat wave in Argentina led to 22 provinces being on alert, according to the National Meteorological Service (SMN), with virtually the entire country experiencing high temperatures. Except in Tierra del Fuego, the areas under yellow, orange or red alert reflect concern about high temperatures and lack of precipitation, which affects the availability of water in the soil and poses challenges for crops and livestock. There is concern about the impact on agriculture and regional economies.
In the INTA Weekly Agrometeorological report, the reddish tones on the maps reflect that the percentage of useful water in the soil profile is less than 10% in the Pampeana region (north and south), Cuyo, Patagonia and NEA (west). Meanwhile, in the NEA (center and east), the Pampeana region (west) and the NOA (center), the values range between 20% and 60%.
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The research organization warned about an upcoming heat wave event with a hot and humid environment, affecting northern Patagonia and the center and north of the country in the coming days. Faced with this scenario, the precipitation forecast offers slight hope with scattered rains and storms over the center and north of the country in the next six days, with the largest accumulated in the center-north and Misiones, with probable isolated rains and drizzles in Patagonia (west and south).
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In this context, this lack of humidity affects the development of crops, especially corn in the province of Buenos Aires, which is in a critical stage between vegetative growth and flowering. In other provinces such as Córdoba, Entre Ríos, La Pampa and Santa Fe, early corn varieties have begun grain filling.
Also read: “The state of the soybeans is very good”, but they warn that “there are areas with symptoms of water stress”
Meanwhile, soybeans show a varied panorama, with first-class crops in vegetative growth and beginning of flowering, and second-class crops mostly in an initial phase. Producers are attentive to climatic developments and rain prospects to mitigate possible impacts on yields.
Useful water in the arable layer. (Source: SMN).
Regional economies are going through a worrying scenario
In that sense, the situation becomes especially critical in the Cuyo region, where the entirety of Mendoza, the south of San Juan and the west of San Luis are under red alert due to high temperatures and lack of precipitation.
This scenario poses significant challenges for sectors such as winegrowing, with potential impacts on production and the economy of the area.
The reddish tones on the map of the INTA Weekly Agrometeorological report indicate the impact of the heat wave. (Source: SMN):
Despite the adverse weather conditions associated with La Niña, which generated below-normal rainfall, the latest report highlights that the total area affected by drought in Argentina was reduced by more than 45 million hectares nationwide.
Read also: “El Niño” did not reach the entire country: a historic lagoon in Junín completely dried out due to the lack of rain
For the first time in 15 months, no areas in severe drought were identified, and both moderate and mild drought also decreased, as did the impact on the livestock stock, they explained.
However, they pointed out that more than 250,000 hectares of crops, mainly corn, continue to be affected by the drought.
Useful water in the profile. (Source: SMN).
Finally, according to dynamic and statistical models, they predict that during the January-February-March 2024 quarter, the conditions of the El Niño phenomenon will persist, with a probability of 100%.
Meanwhile, producers and authorities continue to closely monitor these conditions to adjust strategies and mitigate possible impacts on agriculture and livestock.