France: Barley crop expected to be 10.3% lower than last year
France's soft wheat production is expected to fall by almost 21% this year after crops suffered from adverse weather conditions, the French farm ministry said on July 7.
In its first forecast of this year's soft wheat crop, the ministry projected production at 31.31 million tonnes compared with 39.55 million in 2019.
That would be 12.4% below the average of the last five years and would mark the second smallest French soft wheat crop since 2004, the ministry said. The crop in 2016 was the smallest.
The 2020 forecast was based on a projected yield of 7.11 tonnes per hectare, down from 7.91 last year, and a crop area of 4.41 million hectares, down from 5.00 million.
The soft wheat area, revised down from 4.59 million hectares estimated in June, would be the lowest since 2003, while the expected yield was in line with the five-year average, the ministry said.
"The 2019-2020 season was marked by sowing difficulties in autumn due to heavy rain that saturated soils and by spring drought," it said in a crop report.
"These conditions affected soft wheat in particular."
Traders and analysts have also been anticipating a sharp drop in wheat production, although most estimates have pegged the 2020 harvest at 32-33 million tonnes.
The soft wheat forecast was subject to revision, especially as crops were showing wide yield variations, the ministry added.
For barley, it forecast the 2020 crop at 12.33 million tonnes, down 10.3% from last year although 1.8% above the five-year average.
That included a reduced estimate of the winter barley harvest, now seen at 7.80 million tonnes compared with an initial forecast of 8.17 million last month, and forecast spring barley output of 4.53 million tonnes.
For rapeseed, production including a small amount of spring crop was estimated at 3.37 million tonnes, down 3.7% from last year and 29.5% below the five-year mean.
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