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Argentina Wheat Output Seen Rising by UN After Record Corn Crop

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July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina, South America’s largest wheat grower, may harvest a crop that’s 39 percent larger than last year’s after farmers increased planting while yields are expected to rebound, the United Nations said.

Argentina may produce 12.5 million metric tons of wheat, up from 9 million tons in 2012 and the previous five-year average production at 11.36 million tons, the UN’s Rome-based Food & Agriculture Organization said today in an online report. Farmers may plant about 4 million hectares (10 million acres), according to the report.

“Sowing of the 2013 wheat crop is under way,” the FAO said. “Driven by high domestic prices, early indications point to an overall increase of the area planted from last year’s sharply reduced level.”

Argentine farmers completed the corn harvest in May, and official estimates peg that crop at a record 26.1 million tons, the FAO said. Corn exports may be 18.5 million tons in the 2013-14 season that started March 1, up from 17.15 million tons a year earlier, it said. Argentina is the second-largest exporter of corn, also known as maize, after the U.S.

“The increase in exports is supported by the improved 2013 production and the highly competitive Argentina maize price relative to the United States,” the FAO said. “Argentina is also expected to benefit from the recent trade agreements signed with China which gives its agricultural exports preferential market access.”

Production of paddy rice may be unchanged from last year at 1.6 million tons, the FAO said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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