The condition of spring barley crops in France has improved in recent weeks after plants received timely rainfall and moderate temperatures, said Matthias Wree, a managing partner at industry researcher RMI Analytics in Lucerne, Switzerland.
French spring barley production may be about 3 million metric tons, said Wree, whose company held a crop tour last week in Champagne-Ardenne, the country’s largest producing region. That compares with an estimate of 2.87 million tons released June 21 by Brussels-based farm lobby Coceral. The spring-crop harvest still will be below output of 4.6 million tons last year, when farmers expanded area after a cold snap killed some winter crops, leaving more fields available to plant, Wree said.
Spring crops that were sown as much as two months later than normal in northern France have started catching up in development, so that plant maturity is now about two to three weeks behind the normal pace, Wree said in a telephone interview June 21. France is the European Union’s largest barley grower, and Champagne-Ardenne typically accounts for about 17 percent of the country’s total output, according to FranceAgriMer.
“Everything looks good, but the spring crops look even better,” Wree said. “Crops are in very good shape because of the favorable growing conditions we had from the time of seeding up to now, with good rainfall and moderate temperatures.”
The European Commission estimates that total barley output in the EU bloc including Croatia will be 56.6 million tons, compared with 54.2 million tons a year earlier. The past season’s results don’t include Croatia, which joins the EU on July 1. Malting barley futures are down 8.4 percent this year on NYSE Liffe in Paris. About 42 analysts, brewers and malt makers attended RMI’s tour last week, and the company plans to host tours in the Czech Republic, Scandinavia and Canada in the next two months, Wree said.
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