Prolonged drought has left over a third of early planted soybeans in Argentina’s core farming region in regular to poor condition, the Rosario grains exchange said late Thursday, adding more dry and hot weather was expected in the days ahead.

Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of processed soybean oil and meal, but an ongoing drought in the Pampas plains is causing challenges for the start of the 2022/23 soybean season, with planting ongoing.

Drought has already caused significant losses in wheat crops in the same cycle and caused major delays to soybean planting.

The Rosario exchange added that for the first week of December, above normal temperatures and a continued lack of rainfall are expected, bad news for the early planted soy that’s already suffering.

“A lack of water and high temperatures in recent weeks left numerous soybean fields in critical condition. Most of these fields are located in the east and southwest,” said the exchange, which noted that 4.1 million hectares of early soybeans have been planted so far in the area.

Across the country, the exchange forecasts a total soybean planting area of 17.1 million hectares, with a harvest estimate of some 48 million tonnes, above the 42.2 million harvested in the previous season.