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BUENOS AIRES: Argentine wheat is in mostly good to excellent condition with more than 96percent of the 2021/22 crop planted, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday, after the Rosario exchange increased its harvest estimate to 20.5 million tonnes. The South American grains powerhouse is a major wheat exporter, with most headed to neighbouring Brazil.

"Despite the scarcity of rainfall in most of the agricultural area, and frosts that have occurred in recent weeks, the condition of the wheat crop remains between good and excellent in 58.6percent of planted area," Buenos Aires analysts said in their weekly grains report. They added in a separate weather report, however, that the next seven days promise little to no rainfall in most growing areas.

Late on Wednesday the Rosario exchange published its monthly report, increasing both its 2021/22 wheat and 2020/21 corn crop estimated by 500,000 tonnes. It cited good wheat planting weather and better-than-expected corn yields. It now expects a corn crop of 51 million tonnes, with 75percent of the 2020/21 harvest in. Argentina is the world's No. 3 corn supplier and agriculture is the country's top source of export dollars needed to refresh central bank reserves strained by an anemic peso and a long recession exacerbated by COVID-19.

"The weather this year favoured wheat planting," the Rosario exchange said, adding that almost two million hectares of wheat had been sown over the last three weeks alone. This pushed the exchange to increase its total 2021/22 wheat sowing estimate to 6.8 million hectares from 6.7 million hectare estimated earlier. For weeks, analysts and growers have said this season's corn crop has been better than expected.

"Final yield adjustments are still to be made in Cordoba province. There, 33percent of late-planted corn still needs to be brought in. The harvest is advancing very slowly but with excellent yields," the exchange said in the report. For the upcoming 2021/22 corn season, which starts in September, the Rosario exchange said planting may reach record levels with possible output of more than 54 million tonnes.

But it warned that "as the possibility of a La Nina climate phenomenon has not been ruled out, the lack of certainty still weighs on planting decisions. Climate is the only variable that can alter expected growth on Argentine corn production."

La Nina causes lower-than-usual rainfall in Argentina.

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