French wheat in good shape heading into winter

Nearly all soft wheat crops in France, the European Union’s biggest producer, were in good condition in the week to Nov. 29, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday in its final cereal crop report of the year.

An estimated 99% of French soft wheat was rated good or excellent, unchanged from the previous week and above a 96% score a year ago, it said.

The rating suggests strong early potential for next year’s harvests, although French crops tend to be more affected by conditions from spring onwards, like this year when heavy summer rain caused late yield and quality losses in wheat.

Winter barley growing conditions also remained favourable, with 98% of crops rated good or excellent, down slightly from 99% the prior week but above a year-earlier score of 94%, FranceAgriMer’s data showed.

Sowing of major winter cereals was almost over, with 99% of the expected soft wheat and winter barley areas drilled, as well as 88% of the durum wheat area, FranceAgriMer said.

The office has not yet given a rating for the condition of emerged durum crops.

For grain maize, harvesting was 99% complete by Nov. 29, compared with 97% a week earlier.

The harvest, which was delayed by slow crop growth this year as well as difficulties in drying the harvested crop, was showing an 11-day lag compared with the average pace of the past five years, according to FranceAgriMer.

The office will resume its weekly cereal reports in February following the winter dormancy period for crops.

TABLE-French cereal crop progress for week to Nov. 29
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin, Editing by Jane Merriman and David Evans)

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