August 5, 2011


France lifts 2011 wheat output estimate


France's farm ministry raised its forecast for this year's soft wheat crop, although expected output is seen to remain below last year's levels due to a decline in yields.


The soft wheat crop in the EU's top producer was now seen at 32.5 million tonnes, up from 32.0 million estimated in July but still down 8.8% on 2010 production of 35.7 million tonnes, the ministry said Thursday (Aug 4).


The ministry did not give reasons for the upward revision but it was in keeping with adjustments by other forecasters who have factored in better-than-expected harvest results as recent rain helped crops stressed by a spring drought.


The new wheat crop estimate was based on an average yield of 6.48 tonnes per hectare, down 10% from 7.24% last year, with all regions seeing a yield decline, it said.


The yield fall was partly offset by a 2% rise in the area sown.


In a first estimate of this year's corn crop in France, the ministry forecast production of 13.3 million tonnes, down 3.4% from 13.8 million in 2010.


This was based on an average yield of 8.94 tonnes a hectare, down slightly on 9 tonnes last year, and an area of 1.49 million hectares, also slightly below the 2010 level.


In oilseeds, the ministry raised its rapeseed crop estimate to five million tonnes from 4.5 million tonnes in July, now putting output 4.2% above last year's 4.8 million tonnes.


The revised estimate reflected an average yield of 3.25 tonnes per hectare, now almost unchanged from 3.29 last year, and a 5% increase in the area sown.