Home »Agriculture and Allied » World » French cereal crop hits by heatwave as harvest starts
The condition of French cereal crops declined sharply last week, farming agency FranceAgriMer said on Friday, suggesting a negative impact from a record-breaking heatwave in the European Union's biggest grain producer. Grain markets have been assessing the effects of scorching temperatures in western Europe, which included a record high of 45.9 degrees Celsius (114.6°F) in France.

Severe crop damage like that seen during a northern European drought last year is not expected but analysts do expect the heat to impact what had been very good harvest prospects in some regions. In a weekly update, FranceAgriMer estimated that 75% of soft wheat - France's main cereal crop - was in good or excellent condition by Monday, down from 80% a week earlier although still above a year-earlier score of 73%.

Spring barley saw the sharpest deterioration among cereal crops, with the good/excellent rating losing 10 points to 76%, now level with the year-earlier rating. For winter barley, FranceAgriMer rated 73% of crops as good/excellent, down from 75% from a week earlier. Analysts had anticipated winter barley, usually the first major cereal crop to be harvested in France, would see limited heat stress because plants were already mature.

Some 22% of the winter barley area had been harvested, up from 1% a week earlier, although this was well below year-earlier harvest progress of 76%, FranceAgriMer said. Wheat harvesting was also getting under way. There had been some initial harvesting of soft wheat in southern France but that did not represent a measurable amount of the national crop, FranceAgriMer said.

For durum wheat, which is used to make pasta, 6% of the crop area had been harvested by July 1, compared with zero a week earlier and 7% in the same week last year.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

the author