BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Dry weather throughout Argentina has decreased wheat and corn production, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Argentina’s wheat production has slipped to 17.5 million tonnes, the smallest wheat harvest in five years. The USDA attributed the decrease to unusually dry and cold conditions during much of the production cycle in the central northern wheat area, which reduced the harvest by 3.5 million tonnes.

The country’s wheat exports are being closely monitored by government officials to help maintain domestic supply to avoid higher local prices as export commitments responded strongly to high international prices. In anticipation of an increased export tax, farmers have sold more than 13 million tonnes of the new crop by January 2020, the USDA said.

Argentina’s corn production in the 2020-21 marketing year is estimated to total 47 million tonnes, a 500,000 tonne decrease due to dryness. The USDA forecasts domestic corn consumption to be 14.4 million tonnes, up 7% from the previous year. However, the USDA anticipates high feed grain prices will limit corn use and drive demand for alternative feed sources.

The USDA projects Argentina’s corn exports in the 2020-21 marketing year at 34 million tonnes although some industry sources believe exports could be lower.