Dry Weather Threatens Argentine Wheat, but Rain on the Horizon

Argentine wheat yields during the 2023/24 season in western farmland could continue to fall if much-needed rains do not arrive quickly, the Buenos Aires grains exchange (BdeC) warned in a report on Thursday.

Agricultural powerhouse Argentina is a top global exporter of the grain used to make bread and pasta, but a historic drought severely hit the previous 2022/23 crop as the country's western agricultural areas still await rainfall that has helped restore humidity levels in eastern wheat-growing farmland.

"The decreases in yield potential already caused by the lack of vegetative development could be accentuated if the absence of rain continues," the exchange said in its weekly crop report, estimating the 2023/24 wheat harvest at 16.5 million metric tons.

The report forecasts that farms covering western Buenos Aires province, eastern La Pampa province as well as eastern Cordoba province will receive rains of between 10-25 millimeters over the next seven days.

The lack of rain is also causing delays for the planting of the 2023/24 corn crop, with production estimated at 55 million tons, the exchange said.

A little over 7% of the projected 7.3 million hectares has already been planted with corn, which the exchange said reflected a delay of about 8 percentage points compared to the last five seasons.

Argentina is the world's third-biggest corn exporter.

Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Daniel Wallis