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335285

Argentina core farm zone wheat crop seen down 83%

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Argentina's core farming region is likely to produce just 1.34 million tonnes of wheat amid a protracted drought, which would mark an 83% drop versus a bumper crop a year earlier, the Rosario grains exchange said in a report.

The "core" region accounted for 7.82 million tonnes of wheat in the 2021/22 season out of a nationwide total of 23 million tonnes, estimates from the exchange show. The zone's 2022/23 crop would likely be the worst in over a decade.

Argentina's two main grains exchanges in Rosario and Buenos Aires have repeatedly cut their wheat harvest forecasts after months of dry weather and late-season frosts. The Rosario exchange forecasts a total crop of 13.7 million tonnes.

"(It's a) productive disaster in the core region: there will be 83% less wheat than last year," the Rosario exchange said in its report late on Thursday, saying that despite some recent helpful rains the outlook for more precipitation remained weak.

"Wheat was caught at the worst time, going through the critical period with an extreme lack of water."

The drought-hit wheat crop is bad news for global supplies, already strained by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Both those countries are major wheat producers. Argentina is also the world's third largest corn exporter and No. 1 for processed soy.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Alison Williams)

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