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BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s wheat harvest is seen at 16.7 million tonnes, slightly down from the previous 17 million tonne estimate due to a prolonged drought, the Rosario Grains Exchange (BCR) said.

The estimate suggests wheat production in Argentina, a major global exporter, will be the lowest in five years, the exchange said late on Wednesday.

A drought since the middle of this year has caused major losses in wheat acreage in large parts of Argentina’s agricultural heartland.

Production in the province of Cordoba was in a state of “disaster” that might worsen, the BCR said in its monthly crop report, adding that the province could register its worst grains harvest in 20 years.

The 2020/21 wheat cycle of 6.5 million hectares has been sown but 600,000 hectares of that total had been discarded due to adverse weather, the exchange said.

The BCR said the water shortage “continues despite the recent rains,” adding that the rainfall deficit in a large part of Cordoba and Santa Fe province was 80 to 140 millimeters.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange, meanwhile, said that 15.5% of the wheat planting area was harvested by Wednesday but recent warm temperatures could “negatively impact harvest yields.”

Argentina’s wheat production would reach 16.8 million tonnes for the current season, the exchange said.

The 2020/21 planting cycle of soya and corn was boosted by recent rains and more wet weather expected this weekend would continue to encourage the sowing, the exchange said.

The BCR estimated a harvest of 50 million tonnes for soyabeans and 48 million tonnes for corn.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said that the western part and center of Buenos Aires province had “favorable environmental conditions” in the last two weeks to allow for the early planting of soyabeans.

By Wednesday, 19.9% of the 17.2 million hectares estimated for soyabeans and 31.2% of the 6.3 million hectares estimated for corn had been planted, the exchange said.—Reuters