The forecast for Argentina’s 2022/23 soyabean crop has been cut again by the country’s Rosario grains exchange, due to prolonged drought and a recent heatwave, Reuters reported.

Announcing a sharp drop in the harvest forecast on 8 March, the lowest estimate this century, the Buenos Aires-based grains exchange warned of further cuts as the country’s key agricultural region faced an ongoing drought, the 8 March report said.

The new estimates put the current cycle’s soyabean crop at 27M tonnes, below last month’s forecast of 34.5M tonnes and under the 27.5M tonnes harvested in the 2000/2001 season, according to the report.

Data from the agriculture ministry showed soyabean production of 20M tonnes in 1999, although this was from a planted area of just over half the size of the one expected this season.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soyabean oil and meal, but the current agricultural season had been hit hard by the worst drought in six decades, affecting some areas since May 2022, Reuters wrote.

“Argentina is suffering from a climate scenario without precedent in modern agriculture,” the exchange said, with the country facing the driest season in 60 years and the highest temperatures since the early 1900s.

Early frosts had further worsened the situation for farmers, the report said.

The Rosario exchange indicated in its report that forecasts could continue to decline.

“There are no weather conditions on the horizon which allow us to offer an estimated minimum for the harvest,” it said.

In its January Oilseeds and Products update for Argentina, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected 2022/23 soyabean production at 36M tonnes, down from the 42M tonnes estimated for 2021/22, World Grain wrote on 17 February.