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With world short of wheat, Argentina farmers worry about crop

Reference: Reuters

COMODORO PY, Argentina, June 29 (Reuters) - Drought is only the beginning of worries for growers like Juan Francisco Arregui in Argentina's breadbasket farmlands, who the world is relying on more than usual these days to fill a supply crunch of the grain needed to make bread and flour.

"This season for wheat is complicated," Arregui told Reuters, as he stood in a dusty field that he said had not received rainfall for two months. He said the crop needs rain to arrive soon but weather forecasts were not promising.

In addition to prolonged dry weather, spiking fertilizer costs and political uncertainty over export rules are prompting him and other farmers to devote more land to soybeans and cut back on land devoted to wheat in Argentina, the world's No. 6 exporter of the grain.

While there was enough moisture to plant the seeds, "there is not much left," he said. "It means that the wheat crop is not sure by any means. We can get it started, but hey then we are waiting for rain."

Argentina had a record 2021/22 wheat harvest of 22.4 million tonnes, so global grain markets had hoped the country could help fill the shortfall of grain lost after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The conflict between the two major wheat exporters has sent prices soaring.

But now, both of Argentina's main grains exchanges, Buenos Aires and Rosario, have cut wheat planting forecasts and warned of more cuts if the weather does not improve... Read More