Bloomberg News

French Corn Crop Worsens for Fourth Week as Southwest Stays Wet

June 14, 2013

France’s corn crop worsened for a fourth week on continued wet and cold weather in the southwestern region of Aquitaine, which accounts for a fifth of the country’s production of the grain.

The portion of corn rated good fell 2 percentage points to 59 percent in the week through June 10, while the share classified as excellent was unchanged at 1 percent, crop office FranceAgriMer reported today.

France is the European Union’s biggest corn grower. Aquitaine, which harvested an average 20 percent of the national crop in the past six years, got 30 percent to 40 percent more rain than usual in the week of June 10, figures from the EU’s crop-monitoring unit show.

“This is something to follow because the conditions are obviously not optimal for yields,” said Lucile Brazzini, an analyst at Offre et Demande Agricole in Bourges, France. “I maintain the idea that the plants could still catch up.”

Corn ratings in Aquitaine deteriorated the most in the week among nine regions tracked, with the portion of the crop rated as good sliding to 56 percent from 67 percent and none judged to be excellent, according to the FranceAgriMer report.

While most of France had normal to higher-than-usual temperatures in the week, southern Aquitaine was colder than normal by as much as 1.9 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit), EU data show.

Seeding in Aquitaine

Corn sowing across France rose to 92 percent completed from 89 percent a week earlier, while last year planting was finished as of June 10, according to FranceAgriMer. Farmers in Aquitaine seeded 82 percent of the planned area, up 2 percentage points from the prior week and compared with 99 percent a year earlier.

France’s corn production may climb to 16.4 million metric tons this year from 15.7 million tons in 2012, the International Grains Council forecast May 31.

The national crop was rated 77 percent good or excellent in the week through May 13, according to FranceAgriMer, 17 percentage points higher than this week.

The percentage of corn with six to eight visible leaves rose to 35 percent from 16 percent, compared with 72 percent at the same time last year, the report showed.

Spring barley rated good or excellent fell to 72 percent from 73 percent in the prior week, according to FranceAgriMer. Soft wheat and winter barley were rated good or excellent for 68 percent and 67 percent of the crops, respectively, unchanged in the week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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