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Wheat cultivation in Argentina: learn everything about it!


Nov 21, 2022

The cultivation of wheat plays a prominent role in the Argentine economy, in particular, due to its export potential. This country is in the ranking of the 10 largest cereal producers; contributing 2.3% of the worldwide volume and capturing 4.3% of exports. With regard to its regional performance, its location close to Brazil, and the fact that it is a member of MERCOSUR have benefited from the commercialization process of wheat in the foreign market.

The internal market maintains a fairly stable level of consumption around 6 million tons. This occurs mainly due to the vegetative increase in the Argentine population. As for the industrialization of the cereal to provide different types of harina to the national territory, it has some particularities, among which we highlight a very relevant normative point.

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Since 2003, producers have needed to enrich harina with vitamins and iron to ensure its food and nutritional quality. Effectively, this has become an obligatory practice by virtue of Law No. 25,630 originated by Decree No. 597 of the National Executive. If you are looking for more information about wheat cultivation and the cereal market in Argentina, you have come to the best place! In the next lines, you will find data about its production and the main particularities of this crop.

Main aspects of the national and international wheat market

Essentially, the primary production of the cereal is located in the provinces of Buenos Aires (41.6%), Córdoba (22.4%), Santa Fe (17.5%), Santiago del Estero (6.0%), Entre Ríos (5.9%) and La Pampa (4.3%).

Indeed, the industrialization of wheat is carried out in numerous provinces, however, Buenos Aires concentrates the largest surface of primary production on the ground, which also accounts for the largest number of mill establishments. In what concerns the latter, it is estimated that in Argentina there are around 140 companies distributed throughout the country.

In addition to the main national producers, in the last few years, the northern provinces have exercised the activity with more and more force, for which they are actively collaborating today on the national scene.

Currently, Argentina mainly produces the variety Triticum aestivum L., also called Triticum Vulgare, and destined for the bakery industry, corresponding, in this way, to 98.5% of the wheat produced in the country and to 75% of industrial yield.

According to a report from the Secretariat of Agroindustry, in order to face the demand for marine at the national and international level, it is estimated that the 2018/2019 campaign covered a total surface of 6,290,000 hectares and a primary production of 19,460,000 tons.

Another interesting piece of data provided by the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos, INDEC, refers to domestic consumption. In the last 20 years, the average annual consumption of wheat per inhabitant is approximately 88 kilos. Es decir, the consumption of this cereal has increased in recent times. For this reason, it is essential that the number of producers within the sector is increased and that the wheat market becomes increasingly stronger in the national territory.

Proyecciones about wheat

More than the relevant nature of this crop in the Argentine economy, it is important to point out that, according to the Ministry of Agroindustry, cereal exports have not grown in the expected volume.

In essence, this is due to different problems that affect its competitiveness in the market, such as the high costs of maritime freight, fobbing, and land logistics.

On the other hand, according to the Relevamiento de Tecnología Agrícola Aplicada, prepared by the Bolsa de Cereales de Buenos Aires, since the 2014/2015 campaign the use of technology in wheat production has increased. Also, this movement in favor of digital transformation in the field is the result of the elimination of restrictions on exports and retentions.

In view of the progressive adoption of the tools, everything indicates that the new technologies will continue to collaborate with the optimization of this crop in the coming years.

General characteristics of wheat cultivation
From the family of grasses, wheat is the term used to name the set of cereals belonging to the genus Triticum.

In the same way that rice and other cereals, wheat have unique characteristics that need to be considered when carrying out their production. Below, get to know some of its main edaphoclimatic particularities:

1. Optimum temperature

For wheat to grow and develop properly, it must be exposed to temperatures between 10 and 24°C. More than the relevance of the temperature, it is essential to pay attention to the number of days necessary to reach the thermal integral temperature, the result of the accumulation of degrees of days.

The integral temperature of the wheat is extremely variable since its level depends on the variety of wheat in question. Despite the oscillations inherent to the types, in general, it can be said that, in autumn, the thermal integral temperature is between 1,850 °C and 2,375 °C.

Ultimately, it is essential to maintain the cultivation under mild temperatures and to avoid temperatures that are too cold in winter and extremely high in spring and during the maturation stage.

2. Suelo

While in the ground, wheat should be planted in deep ground, as this stimulates good root development. In effect, the clayey floors keep much moisture during the winter. On the other hand, sandy soils demand abundant irrigation with rainwater during spring, due to being a type of soil with low water retention capacity.

preparation of the soil

In order for the wheat production to generate a good yield, it is essential that the land be laid down, clean of weeds, mulled, and very well demenuzado. Essentially, the type of work, its execution dynamics, and the best time to carry it out vary in function:

of the nature of the terrain; the local climate; from the previous crop to the wheat crop.
If no other species have been cultivated on the land, it is necessary to break the ground in advance and continue the preparation with a barbecue worked for approximately 1 year. Instead of breaking it, let the earth rest until the first autumn precipitations.

Subsequently, during the winter, 3 to 4 jobs must be carried out, since the first one has to be very deep to optimize the penetration of the water into the lower layers of the earth, the others are more superficial and must be crossed with the previous one. Luego, antes de comenzar la soimbra es necesario hacer un grano y así, mitigar los terrones.

3. Humidity
Humidity plays a very important role in the development of cultivation and is related both to the type of soil used. Of course, in dry years, wheat can grow with 300 or 400 mm of rain, however, for this to happen, it is essential that the rainfall distribution is abundant in spring and very sparse in winter.

4. pH
This cultivation obtains excellent yields when carried out in neutral or slightly alkaline soils (between 5.5 and 7), mainly because the microorganisms that benefit its growth are activated better under this pH level.

5. Seeding
The wheat must be sown in furrows separated by distances between 15 and 20 centimeters, the optimal distance is 17 cm. As for the depth, it is advisable to distribute the seeds from 3 to 6 cm on the surface However, this depth may be a little greater in some cases such as.

  • Tierras very sueltas that, when germinating the seeds, can expose them to drying;
  • Late sowings, therefore, it is necessary to protect the wheat from the frosts;
  • The ground preparation has not been adequate.
  • In terms of density, it should be distributed between 300 and 400 seeds/m2 considering a germination power of 80%,

mechanized seeding
In general, the mechanized seed offers many advantages over the corralled or flying seed, among which we highlight:

  • Seed savings between 30 and 50%.
  • Uniform distribution of seeds in the furrows.
  • More accurate definition of the depth of the sowing considering the needs of cultivation.
  • Posibilita la labor entre las líneas.
  • In order for the mechanized seed to provide these benefits, the following conditions must be met:
  • Suelo con poca pendiente.
  • The extent of land sufficient to develop the crop.
  • Adequate ground preparation.
  • 6. Payment and fertilization
  • Wheat is extremely sensitive to nutrient deficiencies such as copper, which, being at a very low level, triggers
  • losses in production. Therefore, to increase the yield of the crop, it is essential to provide adequate
  • concentrations of micronutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. However, to start fertilization
  • it is essential to know the type of soil and plants.


When the plant suffers from a phosphorus deficiency, both the stems and the leaves acquire a purple color. In general terms, this nutrient promotes and anticipates both the grain and the ripeness of the seeds, even the abundant supply of phosphorus makes it possible to anticipate the harvest of wheat in just one week. As a matter of fact, the main function of this element is to harden the tissues, thus improving the rigidity of the plant, which leads to the strengthening of the wheat to face frostbites, the asurado, and the encamped. Likewise, this element optimizes the fertility of the flower, as well as the grandson.

In general terms, the absorption of this element depends on its availability in an assimilable way. Even, a high concentration can generate excessive absorption and so on, prolong the vegetative phase, delay maturation, reduce the scale and cold resistance, as well as increase sensitivity to diseases. Indeed, it is possible to optimize the crop yield when a more expressive quantity of nitrogen is provided at the beginning, during the maturation period, and during the growth process of the stems.

Despite the importance of nitrogen for the growth of the plant, it is indispensable to pay attention to the exact moment that this fertilizer should be applied, avoiding thus anticipating -leading to a high number of bare and sterile ears- or delaying, thus reducing the fertility of the ears of wheat. Ultimately, to obtain a harvest of 1000 kilos of wheat grain, between 24 and 31 kilos of nitrogen must be extracted.

When a potassium deficiency occurs, the plant tends to present a dislocated growth, torsion in its leaves, and yellowish apexes, in addition to reducing the surface of the leaves and the amount of starch in the grain. However, at the end and at the end, why should we add potassium to the plant?

In essence, this nutrient directly interferes with the formation of starch, as it is decisive for the development of the roots. As it makes it possible to reduce transpiration, it plays a very important role in resistance to dryness. Likewise, as it contributes to the formation of an efficient root system, it enhances resistance to cold. In addition to the previously mentioned elements, the payment must also include:

Sulfur: You can apply sterilizers or sulfates. As for liquid sulfur, this reduces the amount of the element applied to the ground. Calcium: interferes both in the formation and in the maturation of the grains. The deficiency manifests itself in poor or very light skin due to excess potassium. Organic fertilizer: The organic material acts as a defect corrector, increasing the retention of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Likewise, it allows compacting more sandy soils, helps to loosen clayey soils, difficult to work and not very permeable, and raises the water reserve of the soil. As you can see, the cultivation of wheat is shaped by peculiarities, which means that the producer prioritizes the studio and seeks to update himself in the sector before starting the wheat activities.

7. Control of weeds
The presence and growth of wet bags generally happen because the proper tasks have not been carried out on the ground. In addition, it also influences the time of its sowing and the vegetative cycle of the wheat itself, the latter concentrated in three periods, as mentioned:

  • Growing period: from the sowing to the beginning of the plumbing.
  • Breeding period: from the piping to the end of the spike.
  • Period of maturation: which extends from the end of the spike to the moment of collection.
  • The most frequent measure of control is the use of herbicides. For him, it is important in the first place to
  • identify the type of weeds, since there is a great diversity, and some turn out to be very resistant, especially if
  • winter wheat is used. Otherwise, you must control the weeds in a timely manner, as their growth is fast.

The elimination of weeds and crop residues is a preventive measure that favors the ventilation of the crop.

8. Common plagues and diseases
Identifies the main pests that affect wheat cultivation and the means to combat them in a timely and effective manner. Next, we mention the most common ones:

They mainly attack the spikes. Biologically, they can be controlled with the use of parasites such as Trissolcus Grandis and Telenomus chlorops. Another very effective action is applying potassic soap instead of sheets

In spring and summer, they affect the wheat plant. It must be taken care of quickly, as it reduces the yield of the crop and increases the appearance of viruses. Normally they are combated using neem extract or potassium jabón, applied instead of the plants. A measure of biological control is the use of Neuroptera Chrysopa Vulgaris.

It penetrates through the root tissue with the aim of feeding on the cellular yoke and proceeds to place its eggs. Steam sterilization and solarization are control methods par excellence. Other people, as a preventive measure, put a protective cardboard ring around the base of the stem.

They are fungi that produce the appearance of pustules (infected cavities) in ears and leaves. It propagates due to the action of the wind on the spurs. It can be prevented by using varieties that are resistant.

powdery mildew
It is a fungus that produces characteristic conidia in the form of a barrel on a chain (vell white). It is recognized by the appearance of a white cotton cover. In some cases it can generate a yellow tint in the sheets, causing them to dry out. It can be prevented with the use of sprays with bicarbonate or copper sulfate.

Trends in the wheat market in Argentina
In recent years, the world has faced important changes in the dynamics of food consumption, and this has not been different in the chain of wheat harina.

In this sense, the primary cereal product has been impacted by global trends that associate its consumption with different health problems, such as obesity, for example. Under this situation, another confusion about gluten intake also arises. Given this context, producers and industries have had to implement actions that explain the nutritional benefits provided by wheat, thus promoting its consumption. In addition to the trend associated with diet, the wheat sector has other important trends associated with agrotechnology. Let’s see some of them!

Precision agriculture in wheat cultivation

The adoption of technology for the production of cereals has become a trend, mainly due to the excellent results it brings. Indeed, precision agriculture has positioned itself as a solid and efficient strategy to optimize wheat profitability. Through this new resource, the producer can make decisions more correctly, reduce the occurrence of errors and modernize the production processes.

With regard to the cultivation of this cereal, producers who want to remain competitive must, indisputably, be in tune with the needs of consumers and improve the use of their resources, because this allows them to obtain better yields, in addition to interfering in a way direct en la Calidad de Los granos. Simultaneously, using resources consciously allows you to reduce production costs and minimize the impact on the environment.

To achieve this level of efficiency and differentiation, it is important to pay attention to technological advances and look for ways to start the digital transformation in the field, whether using drones to fertilize, adopting management software, or implementing modern machines. That said, in order to face the new challenges in the agro-industry sector, precision agriculture has become a powerful ally for producers.

Understanding natural variability
In traditional agriculture, it is understood that the soil of a potrero has homogeneous physical and chemical characteristics. From this perspective, the soil has texture, nutrients, depth, and similar organic material, so the treatment of soil and the management of production factors are carried out in the same way, regardless of the area.

When we incorporate the actions and knowledge inherent to precision agriculture, this perspective changes, in particular, because the concept of natural variability is adopted in which the cultivation is carried out following a different production. In this way, the AP maintains that, in order to carry out efficient cultivation of wheat, inputs must be applied, only in the place where they are needed, which leads to:

  • Use production resources more efficiently.
  • Reduce costs related to inputs.
  • Carry out a more paired production of cultivation both in terms of heat and yield.
  • Reduce the number of fertilizers and agrochemicals needed for efficient cultivation.
  • But, how do you know what you need? and, even more importantly, how to identify the natural variability in the terrain.

Precision agriculture uses different technology tools to detect the physical and chemical characteristics of a potrero, among which we highlight:

electrical trail
It consists of a trace with an electric dipole taken by a vehicle. As the vehicle moves and the trail advances, it emits current to the south following the pole-pole path, which defines electrical conductivity. Through the application of algorithms and mathematical calculations, it is possible to know physical characteristics and, later, to create maps of the different regions of the terrain.

multispectral camera
In fact, the human eye captures the “visible spectrum” that encompasses the red, blue, and green colors. However, there are other channels like el infrarrojo that, in effect, can provide a lot of good information. Using a multispectral camera onboard an aircraft, it is possible to capture images of both the red and the infrared channels near the production zone and this, using mathematical algorithms, allows you to know the different levels of plant vigor and compare them with the Normal Differential Vegetation Index –NDVI.

When this technology is combined with computer programs, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), it is possible to make maps of the horses and, in this way, identify the vigor of the plants caused by homogeneous management. Having this information, it is possible to change the way of working in the soil, providing inputs and a differentiated treatment according to the zones and the force.

performance monitors
These teams are installed on traditional wheat harvesters. Essentially, these monitors contain sensors that record the performance, as well as the harvested surface and the humidity percentage. By virtue of the coupled GPS, it makes it possible to know the parameters of each area of ​​the terrain in a precise way and in real-time. In terms of the data contributed by the input, they allow the creation of maps in which the yields per meter of potrero are shown.

It is observed that technology occupies a very important place in the search for quality, performance, and profitability. Therefore, it is worth incorporating tools that promote a more clean, sustainable, and economically attractive wheat production. As you can see, carrying out wheat cultivation requires much care, both in terms of soil and climate demands and methodologies, as well as in terms of technology and digitalization.

The wheat harvest
Normally, six months after the harvest can start, an indicator of it happens when the days are dry and a good consistency is observed in the grain. An important fact is that the wheat could not be left for too long in the field, since it could be devastated by the winds and storms. In small cultivation areas, the collection can be carried out manually, using a hoz to cut or harvest wheat at a time. In large crops, it will be necessary to use a harvester machine, which performs the horizontal cuts.


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