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Brazil's coffee, cane, corn harvests to speed up with dry weather

SAO PAULO, June 22 (Reuters) - Forecasts of dry weather in Brazil for at least the coming week are expected to allow farmers to speed up their harvesting of coffee, cane, winter corn and other crops after a slow start due to seasonally unusual rains in the nation's center-south region.

Marco Antonio dos Santos, an agricultural meteorologist working with Rural Clima in Uberlândia in Minas Gerais state, said a dry polar mass over most of Brazil will guarantee dry conditions for at least a week and possibly longer.

"With that, we would have good conditions for harvesting coffee, cane, corn and cotton, among other products," he said. "It is going to be a perfect weather for field work."

The Thomson Reuters Weather Dashboard shows basically zero cumulative precipitation through July 7 in the major cane belt around Ribeirão Preto in Sao Paulo state.

The same forecast applies to the top coffee producing region of South Minas Gerais. Coffee farmers have made extensive use of machines to dry the beans before they can send new-crop lots to the market. Under drier weather their work should speed up.

Brazil's center-south cane harvest was some 30 million tonnes behind last year's crop, according to the latest report from cane industry group Unica.

The coffee harvest was also lagging last year's harvest and the average over the last five years. The same thing is happening with the harvesting of the second corn crop.

The dry weather is expected to allow producers to make up much of those lags.

Although some trading houses pointed to possible frost in the center-south region in the coming days, Rural Clima's dos Santos said he saw no such risk since temperatures are not expected to fall to the levels required for that to happen.

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Paul Simao)