BUENOS AIRES: Argentina's wheat crop is mainly in normal to excellent condition with 68 percent of the harvest completed despite concern that recent hard rains and hail storms might have hurt yields, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday.
Harvesting advanced 11 percent during the previous week, the exchange said in a report, with more than 82 percent of the crop in average to very good shape.
“The rains have caused delays in harvesting, and consequently delays in the planting of late-season wheat," it said. “Regarding the hails storms that occurred during the last week, yield losses will be concentrated in northern La Pampa, southern Cordoba and western Buenos Aires provinces."
The exchange kept its 2018-19 wheat production estimate unchanged at 19 million tonnes. The report said average wheat yields during the previous seven days rose by 0.1 tonnes per hectare to 2.8 tonnes.
Harvesting this week is mainly concentrated in the bread-basket province of Buenos Aires, David Hughes, president of wheat industry chamber ArgenTrigo, told Reuters on Thursday.
“Many hectares are not harvested due to rain, but we are not expecting that to cause much loss," Hughes said. “So far, these rains are not too worrisome as to quality."
In the country's main wheat growing belt in Buenos Aires province, Hughes said there was a high disparity in yields due to a series of late-season frosts. Thursday was the last day of the Southern Hemisphere spring.
“Some areas have been completely lost to frost. We will know the total damage as fields get harvested," Hughes said.
The US Department of Agriculture expects a 2018-19 Argentine wheat harvest of 19.5 million tonnes versus 18.5 million in the previous crop year.