The weather here is just beautiful all day long! We woke up to +20 degrees and are going to bed at +24 degrees tonight. It´s amazing how much further south we are now. The sun sets about 8:30 p.m. and rises around 6:00 a.m.. And it stays closer to the northern sky as the day passes by. It´s really easy to get confused in the directions here, especially north and south. It was a lovely sunny day today but they have had 10 rather rainy days prior to our arrival. We had to switch our visit to a farm until this afternoon as the road was too muddy to go in with a big bus this morning.
Which brings me to the topic of roads! In Brazil, the highways were very uneven and had some potholes. In Argentina the highways are much better and the land is so flat that there are hardly any hills. Sometimes the road curves as it meanders through the countryside. There is very little excavation work to do as there is no frost so the road doesn´t shift in the winter time. The land is a sandy base so if a road is crowned properly there´s no need to worry about water standing on it. In this area there are no rocks to move or haul so construction is very easy. BUT - that also means that there´s no gravel available to use on country roads. There are no grids or infrastructure for those roads so they are much rougher with no gravel on them. Traditionally roads just wound in to farmyards so it´s one big maze to find some places. At one point today we thought the bus was going to slip off the road into the ditch, which wasn´t really deep but you never know what´s going to happen with such a tall vehicle. Luckily we got straightened out and arrived at the farm safely.
This morning the guys went to see a custom harvesting company and watched them combine corn. It´s early to be harvesting but this area was very dry in the spring so the crops aren´t as good as they hoped. This is the later crop of soya beans which has been seeded into the wheat stubble and they are showing some stress too. Some of us women stayed back to wander around the downtown pedestrian area and check out the shopping. We certainly didn´t buy much but we had lots of fun looking! There are some very lovely leather goods here so we might have to head back there again :))
In the afternoon we toured a seed farm where they grow corn, soya beans and wheat to be sold as seeds for farmers to use for their planting. Seeing the male and female corn plants and thinking about hand detasseling all of them made me very tired. This farm had irrigated crops grown under pivots. I want to find out more about growing popcorn, which is quite common in this area. Tomorrow we are going on a boat ride down the river to see how soya beans travel to market and also to the Rosario Trade Office. Did you know that ARgentina has a tax of 51% on any goods or commodities that are exported. And 220 kg (550 lbs.) calves down here sold for $1.00 a kilo just last week. That´s not very much money for all the feed they eat and the effort of raising them. At least here the weather cooperates better for harvesting and planting.
Once again I feel like there´s so much to tell you and so little time. But I promise I will share many more details once we are home and have the computer working again. Thanks for your patience!