France’s soft-wheat harvest is forecast to decline this year after low spring temperatures delayed plant development, probably hurting yield potential, farm adviser Agritel said.
Production may fall to 34.8 million metric tons as average yields are predicted to drop 4 percent below the five-year average to 6.98 tons per hectare (2.47 acres), the Paris-based company wrote in an e-mailed report yesterday.
France is the European Union’s biggest wheat grower, and harvested 35.7 million tons of the grain in 2012, according to crop office FranceAgriMer. Crop development is behind last year, with the grain head on 22 percent of soft wheat reaching 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) last week, compared with 86 percent a year earlier, crop office data show.
“Even if temperatures will climb this week, the vegetative cycle will be shortened,” Agritel wrote. “Unless weather conditions are ideal from now until the next harvest, it’s highly probable the yield potential will be affected.”
March temperatures were an average 7.5 degrees Celsius (45.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in France, 1.3 degrees lower than usual, the Agriculture Ministry wrote in a report last week.
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