BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA —Argentina’s wheat harvest forecast continues to slide as the Rosario Grain Exchange told Reuters on Oct. 26 that it is projecting output for the 2022-23 marketing year at 13.7 million tonnes, a sharp reduction from its 15-million-tonne estimate in September.

The reason for the smaller projected crop is a lingering drought that has plagued the region for months. If the latest forecast is correct, it would be Argentina’s smallest wheat crop since 2015-16, when just 10.9 million tonnes were harvested.

“There is an unprecedented drought,” Cristian Russo, a Rosario agronomist, told Reuters. He noted that more than half of the province of Buenos Aires, the main farming region in Argentina, was suffering the lowest level of water reserves in 30 years.

Argentina is the biggest wheat exporter in South America, having exported 16.2 million tonnes out of its 22.5-million-tonne crop in 2021-22, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture.