France: Most wheat and barley crop in good condition
Most French wheat and barley remained in good condition last week, data showed on Friday, April 9, ahead of a freezing spell that may have damaged some crops in the European Union's biggest grain producer, the Business Recorder reported.
For soft wheat, France's main cereal, 87% of the crop was in good or excellent condition in the week to April 5, unchanged from the previous week, estimates from farm office FranceAgriMer said.
That was well above a score of 62% a year ago, when crops had suffered from torrential rain.
The winter barley rating increased to 85% good/excellent from 84% the previous week while the spring barley score also gained one point, to 92%.
The durum wheat rating, however, fell to 81% from 83%.
Grain markets are waiting to see the impact of intense cold since April 6 that is expected to have ruined some vines and orchards.
Cereals are not expected to have suffered as much as other field crops such as rapeseed or sugar beet, but analysts say there could be localised damage, including to young spring barley plants.
Dry conditions, exacerbated by warm weather before the wintry spell, were also starting to cause concern.
Last week's summer-like temperatures helped farmers advance in grain maize sowing. An estimated 9% of the expected crop area had been sown against 2% the previous week, FranceAgriMer said.
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