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BUENOS AIRES: Argentine farmers are expected to harvest 48.8 million tonnes of soy in the 2021/22 season, down slightly from a previous estimate of 49 million, the Rosario grains exchange said, citing a slight shift by some farmers toward more profitable corn.

The country's 2021/22 corn crop is estimated at between 55 million and 56 million tonnes, up slightly versus the exchange's previous forecast of 55 million, the report released late on Wednesday said.

The separate Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday it expected rains over the next week, with up to 25 millimeters of rainfall in some areas of the central farm belt, and warned of possible frosts in producing areas in the west and south.

Argentina is a key global wheat supplier, the world's No.2 corn exporter and the top exporter of soy oil and meal. Some farmers have recently turned to corn over soybeans, however, to mitigate dry weather and take advantage of higher profits.

The Rosario exchange said the area planted with soybeans in 2021/22 will likely be 16.2 million hectares, cutting 200,000 hectares of planted area from its prior forecast, for a total of 700,000 hectares less than the previous season. Planting is due to kick off in October.

The exchange said current profit margins for soybeans were "lower than corn," and noted falling yields due to "lack of water" as well as a greater tax burden on oilseeds.

Soybean exports pay a 33% tax, while shipments of soybean oil and meal are subject to a 31% tax. The tax on corn exports is substantially lower at 12%.

The exchange added 100,000 hectares to its forecast for the 2021/22 corn planting area, for a total of 6.9 million hectares, but noted the estimate does not include the grains used by the producers.

"The storms that began on September 1 and have lasted until today (Wednesday) ended three months where we had a lack of water in the Pampas region," the exchange report said, referring to the main agricultural area of Argentina.

The exchange also predicted the season's wheat harvest would hit 20.5 million tonnes, up slightly from a previous estimate of 20.1 million tonnes.

"For wheat 2021/22 these rains marked a milestone because they leave behind a very different scenario," the report said, noting particularly high rainfall in key wheat planting areas.

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