BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Persistent drought conditions in Argentina, described by weather and agricultural experts as the driest in three decades, have farmers starting to abandon some lots of wheat, Reuters reported, citing the major Buenos Aires grains exchange.

Reaching four months, the dry spell has caused some farmers to “give up harvestable area,” according to the exchange, which estimates 2022-23 wheat planting area at 15.1 million acres, thought it has not released an official production forecast.

The September US Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) projects Argentina’s wheat production at 19 million tonnes, with 13 million tonnes available for export. In 2021-22, the WASDE estimated Argentina harvested 22.5 million tonnes of wheat and exported 16.5 million tonnes. 

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of processed soy oil and meal and an important producer of corn, wheat and barley for world markets. 

The exchange said that in the last month the percentage of the area sown with wheat with regular or dry humidity went from 29% to 46%, while the percentage of lots in regular-to-bad conditions rose to 34% from 18%.

Wheat planting was completed months ago with harvesting expected to start in late October and November. 

Fears also have been raised about delayed planting of corn due to the dry weather.