Bloomberg News

French Soft Wheat Rated Good/Excellent Climbs; Barley Gains

May 11, 2012

French wheat rated as “good” or “excellent” increased in the seven days ended May 7 from the previous week, while barley conditions also improved, crop office FranceAgriMer reported.

Soft wheat with top ratings rose to 66 percent from 65 percent the previous week, the Montreuil-sous-Bois, France-based office wrote on its website. That compares with 38 percent rated “good” or “excellent” a year ago, when spring drought hurt the crop.

France, the European Union’s largest wheat grower, had its fifth-wettest April since 1959, forecaster Meteo-France reported this week. Last month’s rain relieved drought stress for winter grains, crop researcher Arvalis Institut du Vegetal said May 4.

“Generally the crops are in super condition,” said Celine Sicard, an analyst at Paris-based Union InVivo, the largest exporter of French wheat, by phone yesterday, before the crop- rating report. “The danger of drought is mostly behind us.”

Milling wheat for November delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in the French capital has dropped to close at 196.25 euros ($253.97) a metric ton today from this year’s high of 209.25 euros as rain benefited the growing crop.

The ratings are the average for eight regions representing 54 percent of French soft-wheat production, according to the crop office. France accounted for 5.9 percent of the world wheat crop last year, based on International Grains Council data.

The soft wheat rated “good” rose to 53 percent from 52 percent from a week earlier, while 13 percent was rated “excellent,” unchanged from the previous week.

Durum, Barley

Durum wheat rated as “good” or “excellent” increased to 51 percent from 49 percent, based on three regions making up 58 percent of French production of the grain, the data showed. The grain rated “good” advanced 2 percentage points to 46 percent, while the portion rated “excellent” was stable at 5 percent.

Winter barley rated “good” or “excellent” advanced 1 percentage point to 59 percent, based on conditions in seven regions that represent 56 percent of the average national output. Grain with the highest rating increased to 11 percent from 10 percent.

The barley rating compares with a year-earlier assessment of 39 percent “good” or “excellent.”

For spring barley, the “excellent” rating rose to 20 percent of the grain from 19 percent a week earlier, while grain rated “good” was stable at to 60 percent. The ratings are based on data from five regions that on average grow 47 percent of the French crop, according to FranceAgriMer.

At this time last year, 40 percent of the spring-barley crop got top marks, the data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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