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BUENOS AIRES: Argentine farmers sped up soy harvesting over the last week thanks to drier weather, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday, although the pace of the harvest lagged that of the previous season due to severe rains last month.

Intense showers in early March made it difficult for harvesters to access the fields in the main agricultural areas of Argentina. The country is expected by the exchange to bring in a total 43 million tonnes of soy in the 2020/21 season.

Harvesting advanced 14.4 percentage points in the last seven days, to reach 32.9% of planted soy area, the exchange said in its weekly crop report. At this point last year, growers had brought in 68.2% of the 2019/20 harvest, the exchange said.

“Favorable conditions have allowed harvesting work to resume in the center of the country,” the exchange said, adding that “agro-climatic conditions of the next 10 days will be decisive.”

Meteorologists told Reuters this week that no significant rains are expected over the near term, which should allow farmers to make up of some of the time they lost harvesting over the last two months due to excessive wetness.

The exchange said this season’s corn harvest, which overlaps that of soy on the Pampas grains belt, has advanced only 19.5% so far as growers give priority to soybeans, the country’s main cash crop.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soymeal livestock feed and its No. 3 corn supplier.