Argentina farmers angry at government policies that they say hurts profits and disrupts marketing plans halted sales of farm goods for three days this week.
Argentina is the world's largest export of soybean meal and a key supplier of corn and wheat. The government imposes export quotas on wheat and corn to ensure sufficient supplies for domestic markets and to keep consumer prices low, according to a Reuters report.
Global Hotspots, March 5, 2015: Brazil soy at 93 million metric tons, strike slowed shipments
The government also applies a 35% tax on soybean exports.
The strike comes as Argentina prepared to harvest big corn and soybeans crops.
High corn prices to reduce China pork production in 2015
China's hog herd may shrink in 2015 as high domestic corn prices have caused a reduction in the sow herd, USDA's China attache said this week.
The 2015 pig crop was forecast at 672 million head, down about 60 million head from 2014. The sow herd is forecast at 45.5 million head, down from 2014's 50 million. That prompted the attache to raise its forecast for Chinese pork imports to 1.2 million metric tons, a 20% increase from USDA's official forecast, and up about 50% from 2014.
The United States should remain the second largest supplier of pork to China, behind the European Union, but its market share should be down due to the stronger dollar and to China opposing the feed additive ractopamine, the report said.
Global Hotspots, Feb. 26, 2015: Canadian beef shut out of some markets after mad cow
Beef production and consumption forecasts for 2015 of 6.6 million and 7.078 million tons, respectively, are essentially equal to 2014 levels. While the Chinese market remains closed to U.S. beef as of early 2015, imports from other suppliers will contribute to a forecasted 20% increase to 500,000 tons.
Brazil trims size of soybean harvest
Citing weather problems in January Brazil's official crop reporting agency this week trimmed its forecast for that country's soybean harvest to 93.3 million metric tons, from its previous forecast of 94.6 million.
A 93.3 million crop is still larger by 8.3% than the previous year's.
Brazil is the world's second largest soybean producer behind the United States and its exports compete with U.S. soybeans. USDA on Tuesday kept its forecast for Brazil soybeans unchanged at 94.5 million tons, although some analysts had expected a reduction.