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Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Seven hour drive took me from Areco to Anguil, INTA research station in Le Pampa province. INTA is Argentinas government funded research organization. It has a number of sites all across the different regions of Argentina. Most of Le Pampa province, ( Le Pampa means “The plains”)  is classed as semi arid,  it is where the cropping country meets the grazing country.
There are lots of Australian Eucalypts across Argentina.....I felt quite at home

 I thought this was an ideal place to have a look at weather forecasting and managing in an erratic climate. Year on year climate can vary by 65% from the mean, which is pretty drastic. Of particular interest is a long term weather cycle that has been identified to occur here.  I believe that they only have about 90 years of rainfall records, so I am unsure how what they have used to draw this conclusion. The records that I was shown certainly indicated one of these 100 year cycles.  I would guess that it is in line with some of the longer term cycles that Ray Garnet spoke about.

A nice crop of Soybeans, should yield 1.5t/ha
To manage the extreme variability, the farmers here use a mix of livestock and cropping as well as storing moisture before sowing a crop. In most other cropping areas in Argentina farmers will try to get two crops per year. Here in La Pampa province the second crop is a short term cover crop, usually of cereal rye, which is then sprayed out to allow moisture conservation. Either Summer or winter crops can be grown, but the summer crops including Soybeans, corn and  sunflowers tend to be less risky and more profitable

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