BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Drought in three consecutive years in key growing areas has caused serious damage to Argentina’s early planted corn, lowering 2022-23 production estimates to 45 million tonnes, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultrual Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The late planted corn is also somewhat affected in several areas, but rains as of mid-January have brought relief to farmers and have put a stop on the decline in production, the USDA said. Many farmers still hope to obtain average yields for late planted corn.

Production for 2021-22 is set at 52 million tonnes, which is 2.5 million higher than the official USDA estimate. Most industry contacts and sources agree upon these levels, which match with trade, stocks, and consumption volumes.

Exports for 2022-23 are set downwards at 32.2 million tonnes, in direct line with the lowering of expected corn supplies. Large carry-over stocks from 2021-22 could take pressure off this marketing year, the USDA said.

Corn exports for 2021-22 also are reduced to 33.8 million tonnes, 1.7 million tonnes lower than USDA’s official number.

Wheat production in 2022-23 is estimated at 12.5 million tonnes, a significant drop from the nearly 21 million tonnes produced in 2021-22.

Due to diminished supplies, wheat exports are expected to reach 6.2 million tonnes (including wheat flour in its wheat equivalent), significantly lower than earlier estimates and below the average of the past few years.

There is concern about the quality of the local wheat crop, a side effect of the drought and frosts, the USDA said.