France: France reports worsened condition of soft wheat crop, winter barley harvested from 44% of the area
The condition of French soft wheat declined in the week to July 12 while farmers made little progress in harvesting during unusually wet weather, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on July 16.
Some 76% of soft wheat was in good or excellent condition against 79% a week earlier, it said in a cereal crop report. That remained well above a score of 55% a year ago when France was harvesting one of its smallest wheat crops in decades.
France, the European Unions largest grain grower, is widely expected to see a rebound in wheat production. The farm ministry this week forecast a 27% jump in soft wheat output compared with the 2020 crop, 11% above the average of the past five years.
However, heavy rain so far this summer has raised concern about late losses to yields and particularly a deterioration of grain quality that determines wheats suitability for milling.
FranceAgriMers crop ratings give an assessment of yield potential and not grain quality, which is hard to assess until crop is harvested.
Severe flooding in western Europe this week has killed at least 81 people in Germany and part of northeastern France was on flood alert on July 16.
The drenching weather has slowed harvest work in France. Just 4% of the soft wheat crop area had been cut by July 12, compared with 1% a week earlier and 42% a year ago, FranceAgriMer said.
Traders say soft wheat may escape serious damage given that plants have not been ripe after slower than usual development this year, and with a spell of dry, warm weather forecast for the coming days.
For French winter barley, the first major cereal to be gathered in summer, 44% of the area had been harvested against 10% the previous week and 86% a year earlier, according to FranceAgriMer.
Spring barley harvesting was 4% complete compared with 1% the prior week and 19% a year ago.
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