Argentina's wheat harvest seen at 16.7 mln tonnes, lowest in five years, exchange says

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Argentina’s wheat harvest is seen at 16.7 million tonnes, slightly down from the previous 17 million tonne estimate due to a prolonged drought, the Rosario Grains Exchange (BCR) said.

The estimate suggests wheat production in Argentina, a major global exporter, will be the lowest in five years, the exchange said late on Wednesday.

A drought since the middle of this year has caused major losses in wheat acreage in large parts of Argentina’s agricultural heartland.

Production in the province of Cordoba was in a state of “disaster” that might worsen, the BCR said in its monthly crop report, adding that the province could register its worst grains harvest in 20 years.

The 2020/21 wheat cycle of 6.5 million hectares has been sown but 600,000 hectares of that total had been discarded due to adverse weather, the exchange said.

BCR said the water shortage “continues despite the recent rains”, adding that the rainfall deficit in a large part of Cordoba and Santa Fe province was 80 to 140 millimeters.

The province of Buenos Aires, the country’s main wheat district, could produce record yields after escaping the drought.

The 2020/21 planting cycle of soy and corn was boosted by recent rains and more wet weather expected this weekend would continue to encourage the sowing, the exchange said.

BCR estimated a harvest of 50 million tonnes for soybeans and 48 million tonnes for corn. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; writing by Cassandra Garrison)