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UPDATE 2-Argentina soy harvest set to climb next season; wheat, corn to retreat

(Adds comments from BdeC specialist)

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Soybean production in Argentina is expected to rise to 48 million tonnes in 2022/23, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Wednesday, as it provided its first estimates for the new season in one of the world's largest grain suppliers.

The 15.5% increase over the 2021/22 crop, currently seen at 43.3 million tonnes, would come on the back of a larger planted area and at the expense of other crops, such as corn, the exchange said.

Soybeans provide economically battered Argentina with much-needed export dollars.

Local corn output, on the other hand, is expected to drop to 50 million tonnes from 52 million, while wheat production is set to fall 21.9% to 17.5 million tonnes as the country is experiencing a severe drought.

Argentina is the world's largest exporter of soy oil and meal and the third-largest corn exporter, as well as an important wheat supplier.

Farmers in Argentina are now hitting the start of the corn planting while wheat sowing is completed. Soybean planting starts in October.

"After almost six seasons, the soybean crop might increase in terms of planted area," said Martin Lopez, an analyst at the exchange, noting that adverse climate conditions could lead farmers to sow the oilseed in areas they originally intended to plant with corn.

The soy area is expected to rise by 400,000 hectares (988,421 acres) to 16.7 million hectares in 2022/23, Lopez said, while the local corn area is seen falling to 7.5 million from 7.7 million hectares.

Eduardo Sierra, a specialist in agroclimatology at BdeC, said that although the La Nina climate phenomenon is expected to last until early 2023, October will bring much needed rainfall to rural areas.

"The rains" expected for October "are good," said Sierra, who forecasts between 50 and 100 millimeters (2 to 4 inches) of rainfall in Argentina's agricultural heartland and more than 100 millimeters in northern provinces, where the drought has been more prolonged." (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Steven Grattan, Marguerita Choy and Paul Simao)

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