France: Crop ratings for winter barley stable, spring barley conditions improved
Crop ratings for French wheat and winter barley were stable in the week to May 10 while spring barley conditions improved, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on May 14, suggesting rain has helped cereals after a dry, cold April, Reuters reported.
An estimated 79% of French soft wheat was in good or excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal crop report.
That ended four weeks of declining ratings for France's main cereal crop, having endured low rainfall and severe frosts.
FranceAgriMer does not give reasons for rating trends in its weekly updates, but officials this week said that the return of rain had stabilised growing conditions.
The good/excellent scores for winter barley and durum wheat were also unchanged on the week, at 76% and 69% respectively.
For spring barley, the corresponding rating rose to 85% from 82% after holding steady the previous week, FranceAgriMer's report showed.
Widespread rain this week and more showers forecast for next week could further boost soil moisture, though the grain market is also monitoring cool temperatures for any potential delay to crop development.
Crop ratings in France, the European Union's biggest grain producer and exporter, remain much higher than a year ago, when crops suffered from torrential rain.
The soft wheat good/excellent score compared with 55% at the same point last season.
Grain maize sowing was nearly complete, with 95% of the expected area seeded by May 10, up from 89% the previous week and 88% a year ago, FranceAgriMer said.