Parched Argentine crops feel relief from rains - grains exchange

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Rewrites with second report on recent rains

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 26 (Reuters) -Recent rains have brought badly needed relief to much of Argentina's parched agricultural land, the Buenos Aires Grains exchange said on Thursday, with coming rains expected to further help farmers in the planting stage amid a historic drought.

Precipitation in the past week over Argentina's central agricultural area has prevented any new cuts to the South American country's soy and corn harvests, the exchange said in a report.

Months of drought have delayed planting and forced cuts to projected harvests in the South American country, which is the world's largest exporter of processed soy and third-largest corn exporter.

Corn planting has advanced to 94% of an expected area of 7.1 hectares, while soybean planting advanced to 98.8% of the 16.2 hectare area forecast by the exchange, it added.

The good news for farmers comes a week after the exchange cut its corn harvest forecast to 44.5 million tonnes, down from 50 million tonnes seen last September.

Earlier Thursday, the grains exchange said a coming storm front is expected to further relief to farmers.

"Most of the Argentine agricultural area, a large part of the Uruguayan agricultural area and most of Paraguay will register moderate to very abundant rainfall (10 to 75 mm), with pockets receiving little rain," said the exchange in its weekly climate report.

It added the Chaco region and the eastern side of the Buenos Aires province would likely see little rain.

Polar winds are also expected to blow through the country, the exchange said, and Argentina's mountainous areas and the southeast of Buenos Aires could see a light frost.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski and Brendan O'Boyle; Writing by Kylie Madry and Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Alistair Bell


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