July 9, 2012


France's 2012 soft wheat crop may increase by 5.7%



The data published by farm office FranceAgriMer on Friday (July 6) showed that France's soft wheat crop is expected to rise 5.7% to 35.9 million tonnes this year from 34 million harvested in 2011.


The forecast was the office's first official projection of the 2012 wheat crop in France, the EU's top producer and exporter of the staple grain.


The wheat production forecast was based on an expected average yield of 7.4 tonnes a hectare, up 8% on 6.8 tonnes in 2011, which offset an estimated 2% fall in area to 4.9 million hectares from five million last year.


The production forecast was above a preliminary outlook of 34.4 million tonnes disclosed by FranceAgriMer last month, and also higher than recent estimates by other forecasters.


Regular rain throughout spring has boosted the development of grain crops in France after severe winter frost damaged some plants and led to a large area to be re-sown in eastern France.


The main concern in France is now about the quality rather than the quantity of the main wheat crop, with frequent showers threatening to downgrade some wheat to animal-feed quality.


In other harvest estimates, FranceAgriMer put the total barley crop, including both winter and spring barley, at 11.15 million tonnes, up 26.6% from 8.8 million tonnes in 2011. This was based on a yield of 6.7 tonnes a hectare, up from 5.7 tonnes last year, and an area of 1.7 million hectares, up from 1.5 million.


Winter barley output was put at 6.7 million tonnes, including a yield of 6.9 tonnes a hectare and an area of 960,800 hectares, while production of spring barley - widely used for making beer ingredient malt - was seen at 4.5 million tonnes, based on a yield of 6.4 tonnes and 701,425 hectares sown.


The durum harvest should produce 2.1 million tonnes, up 4.3% on last year's crop, FranceAgriMer said.