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Argentina's farmers notch sales of more than 70% of soybean crop

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Argentine farmers sold as of last week about 72% of the current soybean harvest, government data showed on Tuesday, a key crop especially important since it helps generate much-needed hard currency for the country's cash-strapped government.

During the same time last season, farmers sold a little over 73% of the soybean harvest.

Argentina's powerhouse agricultural sector is one of the world's top soybean, corn and wheat exporters, but has recently been hit by drought and untimely cold snaps expected to undermine grains output.

Total soy production from the 2021/2022 harvest is seen at 44 million tonnes, according to agriculture ministry data.

Farmers sold about 248,000 tonnes from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, down by half compared to the same week during the previous 2020/2021 season, the data showed.

In September, farmers sold 13.3 million tonnes of soybeans, nearly three times more than the historical average for the month, boosted by a government-authorized one-month preferential exchange rate designed to incentivize sales.

Meanwhile, Argentine farmers have sold 70% of the 59-million-tonne 2021/2022 corn crop, according to the ministry, about two percentage points down from sales notched during the same period in the previous season.

The 2022/2023 season's corn plantings, which kicked off in September, were delayed by extended drought which forced farmers to cut the area planted with corn to its lowest level in six years, according to data from the Rosario grains exchange.

Since last week, 2022/2023 wheat sales total 5.6 million tonnes, or about 41% of the expected crop.

Due largely to dry weather, the exchange recently lowered its wheat production forecast to 13.7 million tonnes. (Reporting by Belen Liotti; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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