July 8, 2011


France's wheat harvest estimated to fall by 10%



France will harvest 31.99 million tonnes of soft wheat this year, down 10.3% on 2010, the farm ministry said on Thursday (Jul 7) in a first estimate of the crop.


The ministry cited the impact of a spring drought, as France's driest March-May period since 1900 and the hottest in 50 years has stressed crops.


"The drought of the spring of 2011 should have relatively negative consequences on the production of winter and spring crops," it said in a monthly note.


With the area sown with wheat 2% higher this year, the projected decline in production was due to a 12% fall in the average yield, pegged at 6.35 tonnes per hectare versus 7.24 tonnes last year.


All regions would see a fall in wheat yields and production, the ministry said.


In oilseeds, the ministry estimated 2011 rapeseed production, including a small percentage of spring-sown crop, at 4.53 million tonnes, 6.0% lower than last year. Average yield was put at 2.98 tonnes a hectare versus 3.29 last year.


The breakdown for winter rapeseed showed a raised yield estimate of 2.98 tonnes per hectare versus 2.91 tonnes in an initial forecast last month.


The ministry also forecast a total barley crop of 8.41 million tonnes, down 16.8% on 2010, reflecting both a 2% fall in area and a 15% drop in average yield.


Winter barley output was put at 6.35 million tonnes, down 16.0% on the year, with the average yield seen at 5.85 tonnes.


In a first estimate last month, the ministry had put winter barley production at 6.2 million tonnes, with an estimated yield of 5.65 tonnes a hectare.


Spring barley output was projected at 2.06 million tonnes, down 19.0% on last year, as an 11% rise in area was outweighed by a 27% fall in average yield to 4.40 tonnes a hectare.


The national yield partly reflected a 36% yield decrease in the Champagne-Ardennnes region, which accounts for more than a third of the spring barley area in France, the ministry said.