November 13, 2008


France increases 2008 grain crop estimate to 70.1 million tonnes



The French agriculture and fisheries ministry Wednesday (November 12, 2008) revised upward its estimate for the country's 2008 cereal crop to 70.1 million metric tonnes from the previous forecast of 69.3 million.


The latest estimate represents a rise of 10.6 million tonnes, or 18 percent, in crop size from 2007 and is approaching levels not seen since the 2004 boom year, government data shows. This year's crop is 13 percent bigger than the average annual volume between 2003 and 2007, the ministry said.


The ministry attributed the higher crop volume largely to improved crop yield and a 556,000-hectare rise in sown cereal area to 9.7 million hectares.


The 2008 crop was bolstered by 444,000 extra hectares made available for cultivation by the abolition of the European Union's 10 percent mandatory arable land set-aside scheme.


For the largest French cereal crop - soft wheat - French production was forecast at 36.9 million tonnes. This is unchanged from the previous forecast and up 19.9 percent from 2007.


France's barley output was upgraded to 12.2 million tonnes from the previous forecast of 12 million tonnes, a jump of 29.2 percent on the year.


The forecast for corn production was raised to 15.8 million tonnes, up from a forecast of 15.1 million tonnes. That was an annual increase of 8.8 percent.


French oilseed output was steady at 6.4 million tonnes, up 5.7 percent from a year earlier.

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