(Adds wheat crop forecast, dateline)
BUENOS ARIES, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Argentina’s soy crop is in mostly good condition with recent hot, dry weather helping to stabilize flooded areas, keeping the country on track for a 53-million-tonne harvest, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday.
“More than half of the area planted with soy has already gotten through its yield-setting stages, with some areas in the central farm belt only a few weeks from harvesting,” the exchange said in its weekly crop report.
“Eighty-seven percent of planted area is in favorable condition, permitting us to maintain our crop estimate of 53 million tonnes,” it said.
Earlier in the season, marginal growing areas outside of the key Pampas grains belt were flooded by weeks of excessive rains.
Since then, Argentina has been hit by a heat wave that has benefited flooded areas while raising concern about parched conditions on other parts of the country.
Wide parts of the bread basket province of Buenos Aires are expected to get showers over the days ahead, providing relief to dry areas, the report said. “The rest of the farm region has had no rain, allowing the continuation of improvement of soils in areas badly compromised by excess moisture,” it added.
The government, in a separate monthly report on Thursday, also inched up its forecast for the country’s 2018/19 wheat crop to 19.46 million tonnes, versus a previous estimate of 19.26 million tonnes. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Maximilian Heath Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown)