Argentina's 'late-arriving' rains help temper wheat harvest decline, exchange says

By Maximilian Heath

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Argentine rainfall in recent days helped temper losses to the country's expected 2020/21 wheat harvest, which has been hit hard this year by dry weather, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said in a report on Thursday.

The exchange maintained its forecast for the wheat harvest at 16.8 million tonnes, far below the 21 million-tonne estimate at the start of the season, after months of dry weather hit the central farming region and continue to affect the north.

In the provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe, "the recent accumulated rains interrupted the deterioration and losses of plots, but they were late arriving for a crop that is finishing its cycle," the grains exchange said.

It added, however, that "forecasted low temperatures for the next few days" in the south of Buenos Aires province, could pose a risk to a key region where the crop maintained good humidity levels throughout the season.

Argentine farmers had, up until Wednesday, harvested 6.1% of the area sown with wheat, according to the report.

Regarding 2020/21 corn, the exchange said recent rain had improved soil moisture levels at a time when producers managed to complete the planting of 29.8% of the 6.3 million hectares (15.6 million acres) expected for the current campaign.

It said the topped-up water reserves would help plants that were already well advanced, as well as allowing growers to move forward with the sowing of early plants.

Argentina is one of the world's top suppliers of grains to the global market, including the third-largest exporter of corn. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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