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Argentina wheat farmers abandon some lots due to drought, exchange says

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Argentine wheat farmers are starting to abandon some lots of wheat due to prolonged drought, the major Buenos Aires grains exchange warned on Thursday, a worry for the grains producing South American nation as growers grapple with a lack of rain.

The exchange, which estimates 2022/23 wheat planting area at 6.1 million hectares (15.1 million acres) though currently has no official production forecast, said in a report that some "farmers have begun to give up harvestable area" of wheat due to the dry spell.

The exchange said that in the last month the percentage of the area sown with wheat with regular or dry humidity went from 29% to 46%, while the percentage of lots in regular to bad conditions rose from 18% to 34%.

Wheat planting was completed months ago with harvesting expected to start in late October and November.

Argentina's main farming zones are facing the driest conditions in around 30 years, agricultural and weather experts told Reuters, raising fears about a new "great drought" and also stalling planting of corn.

The country is the world's top exporter of processed soy oil and meal, the No. 3 for corn and a key exporter of wheat.

(Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Marguerita Choy)

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