French wheat production will fall even steeply more this year than many had forecast, according to the results of a crop tour by Paris-based consultancy Agritel.
In its first forecast for the coming harvest in the EU’s top wheat grower, Agritel pegged expectations at 37.26m tonnes, a fall of 9.2% year on year
European grain industry group Coceral last week forecast the French wheat crop at 38.87m tonnes.
Last month the French agricultural consultancy Strategie Grains forecast French wheat production at 38.5m tonnes, while ODA last month saw the French crop at 36.5m-38.5m tonnes.
An Agritel analyst told Agrimoney the forecast was based on the results of a crop tour in late June, and could be revised later in the season to take in further weather developments.
The group also noted “disappointing” early results, in quality and yield terms, from France’s harvest of barley, which having a shorter growing season than wheat is reaped earlier.
The drop in French wheat production was seen as a result of lower yields.
Yields were forecast at 7.09 tonnes per hectare, down about 4% from the five-year average, and a result which would be more than 10% below the yields seen during in the record 2015 harvest.
But the falling yields will be partially compensated by higher sowings, pegged at an 80-year high.
Wet weather effect
Agritel declined to comment on the role of wet weather on the crop conditions seen on the tour.
But in a note released on Monday, the consultancy warned that “in France wet climatic conditions, especially in the north of the country, are raising worries about next harvest”.
Last week FranceAgriMer, the French farm office, reported that the proportion of French wheat rated good or excellent was down 6 points week on week, at 65%, following a 4-point drop in quality in the previous week’s report.
France, Germany concerns
As a whole, EU wheat prospects are rising thanks to increased forecasts for harvests elsewhere in the bloc.
Coceral lifted its forecast for EU wheat production, up 2.8m tonnes to 148.0m tonnes.
And the IGC has pegged EU wheat prospects at 154.6m tonnes, but saw French dampness is still reigning in prospects, leaving overall output down 3.3% year on year.
“While the EU wheat crop is still expected to be one of the largest ever, recent heavy rains coincided with the flowering stage of development in some parts of northern France and southern Germany, likely capping yield potential and possibly raising quality problems,” said the IGC last week.
“Because of lingering wet and humid conditions, there were particular concerns in France,” the IGC said.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/french-wheat-crop-to-fall-even-more-than-thought–9718.html)