Corn in Argentina closed at $158 per ton, roughly $3.95 per bushel, on Sept. 9 — close to a 50% discount relative to U.S. prices — as farmers there struggle to sell stocks after meeting government export quotas.

The Rosario Cereals Exchange numbers represent a 15% drop in prices, compared with the Chicago Board of Trade, where prices have grown 17%. “The price differential is terrifyingly high because Chicago is flying and Argentina hasn’t followed,” said Ramiro Costa, chief economist at the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange. Prices are falling in Argentina because the “market is closed,” after producers met the government’s quota of 12 million tons of corn for 2011 export, said Costa.

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Argentina’s government demands that corn producers earmark 8 million tons of corn per year for domestic consumption. Argentina’s output was about 21 million tons in the 2010-2011 season.