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Rains improve wheat prospects in Argentina, grains exchange says

The Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Wednesday that intense rains in recent days in Argentina’s key agricultural farmland has improved expectations for the 2023/2024 wheat crop, after a historic drought badly crimped yields.

Rainfall is critical for Argentine farmers to start planting wheat, with sowing set to begin in the coming days. The total crop is estimated at 18 million tonnes, up from the 12.4 million tonnes harvested in the previous season.

Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of processed soybeans as well as a major corn and wheat supplier, but its production of grains has been hurt by severe drought conditions and other severe weather, causing major losses for both farmers and the cash-strapped government.

“The arrival of rains improves the prospects for the wheat and barley crops,” the exchange said in its weekly crop report.

Argentina’s hard-hit agricultural core, including farmland in northern Buenos Aires province, southern Santa Fe and southeast Cordoba, received up to 75 millimeters (3 inches) of rainfall in the last 24 hours, according to national meteorological service SMN.

Further rain of between 10 and 25 millimeters is expected over the same region in the coming days, the exchange forecasts.

But the recent rainfall has also caused delays in the harvesting of soybeans in the current 2022/2023 harvesting season, estimated at just 21 million tonnes. Soybean farmers have reaped 78% of the planted area so far.

In the previous 2021/2022 season, the soybean harvest totaled 43.3 million tonnes.

For the 2022/2023 corn harvest, farmers have harvested nearly 27% of the planted area, with production estimated at 36 million tonnes.

The country’s corn crop reached 52 million tonnes in the previous season.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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