Argentina's 2011-12 soybean area will likely rise 0.6% on the year to 19 million hectares, the Agriculture Ministry said in its weekly crop report. The forecast is the first from the ministry for soybeans, the country's top crop and export.
Soybeans are a key source of hard currency and tax revenue for the Argentine government. The country is the world's top soy-meal and soy-oil exporter and ranks third in global soybean exports.
Planting is in full swing after showers earlier in November, and 30% of the soy crop was planted so far, according to the ministry.
Earlier the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange raised its forecast for soy area to 18.9 million hectares, up from 18.6 million hectares estimated last week. The Rosario Grain Exchange is expecting the soy crop to total 49.5 million metric tons, the second-largest ever.
The 2009-10 season holds the record for total soybean production, when 54.5 million tons were harvested.
The ministry also trimmed its forecast for 2011-12 wheat production to 12 million tons, down from 12.6 million tons forecast last month. That's down 24% on the year, the ministry said.
The Buenos Aires exchange sees 2011-12 wheat production at 13 million tons. Argentina is a leading global wheat exporter, with a significant percentage of shipments going to neighbouring Brazil.
So far 14.1% of the crop has been harvested, according to the Buenos Aires Exchange.