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UPDATE 2-Argentina grains exchange cuts wheat harvest forecast to 15 mln T

(Updates with additional information)

By Maximilian Heath

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Argentina's Rosario grains exchange cut its 2022/23 wheat harvest forecast to 15 million tonnes, down from 16 million tonnes estimated last week, it said on Wednesday, after a late frost hit crops already damaged by drought.

The projected wheat harvest - which would make this year the worst in seven years - is "very critical and could still get worse," the exchange said in its monthly report.

Argentina produced a record 23 million tonnes of wheat in the last growing season.

The country is a major grains exporter, but this crop year has been hit by a drought that dates back to May, exacerbating the impact of low temperatures during the southern hemisphere spring, when many wheat fields were in key development stages.

The Rosario exchange maintained its projections for the 2022/23 corn harvest at 56 million tonnes and its 2022/23 soybean harvest at 48 million tonnes. Producers are beginning to plant corn, and soybean planting will start in coming weeks.

The exchange said that due to the drought farmers may opt to plant more land in soybeans, a hardier crop than corn, estimating that the planting area for the oilseed could reach 17 million hectares (42 million acres).

The exchange said producers so far have planted only 12% of the 8 million hectares forecast for corn, 15 percentage points behind the planting rate at the same time last season. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Sandra Maler and Tom Hogue)

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