France: Barley production now expected at 11.74 mln tonnes
France's farm ministry on September 14 lowered its estimate of 2021 soft wheat production in the European Union's biggest grain grower to 36.06 million tonnes from 36.69 million projected last month due to wet summer weather, Reuters reported.
The lower forecast would still be 23.6% above last year's poor crop and 8.1% higher than the average of the past five years, the ministry said.
"These downward revisions reflect the effect of the rainy summer weather that squeezed yields. However, they do not call into question the sharp increase in cereal harvests (+ 15%) compared to the very bad 2020," a ministry statement said.
Barley production was now expected at 11.74 million tonnes, slightly above last month's 11.69 million tonnes estimate and 12.7% above last year.
France was widely expected to harvest more wheat and barley than in last year's disappointing harvest, but heavy rain during summer has raised concerns about late damage.
In grain maize, excluding crops grown for seeds, the ministry raised its estimate for this year's crop to 13.03 million tonnes from its first production forecast of 12.88 million last month, although this was down 1.9% from 2020 output due to a smaller area.
For rapeseed, France's main oilseed crop, forecast production was revised up to 3.31 million tonnes from 3.22 million last month, now expected 0.5% above last year's weak volume despite a sharp drop in planted area.
In an initial estimate for this year's sugar beet harvest, the ministry said it expected the crop at 33.12 million tonnes, up 26.4% from 2020 but 10.5% below the five-year average due to a fall in area.
A rebound in France's sugar beet crop had been largely anticipated after pest attacks last year caused virus yellows to ravage crops, though wet weather this year caused concern about final sugar content.
The ministry noted that rainy summer weather had also led it cut its protein crops estimates, mainly for peas.
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