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Dryness continues to afflict recently planted Argentine wheat, exchange says

BUENOS AIRES, July 23 (Reuters) - Dryness in northern and central Argentina is affecting the development of recently planted wheat fields, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday, having twice cut its planting estimate in recent weeks due to persistently bad weather.

The exchange, widely referenced by farmers and grains traders, expects 6.5 million hectares of wheat to be sown this season, down from an original forecast of 6.8 million hectares.

Lack of rain in the northern and central wheat belt "continues to accentuate the moisture deficit, affecting the development of the most recently sown areas as well as earlier-planted fields," the exchange said in its weekly report.

It said that Argentine planters had sown 94.1% of expected area for the 2020/21 crop year. Argentine wheat harvesting is in December and January.

Regarding Argentina's 2019/20 corn crop, the exchange said harvesting was 94.6% complete and that it maintained its total harvest forecast at 50 million tons.

(Reporting by Maximilian Heath, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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