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French grain sowings slow and crop ratings fall after heavy rain

Winter grain sowings had made little progress and crop ratings fell in France last week, farm office FranceAgriMer data showed on Friday in a sign that heavy rainfall took a toll on crops in the European Union’s biggest grain grower.

French farmers had sown 71% of the expected soft wheat area for next year’s harvest by Nov. 13, compared with 67% a week earlier and 96% by the same time last year, the office said in a crop report.

Only 86% of the soft wheat crop was in good or excellent condition by Monday, compared to 91% a week earlier and 98% by the same stage in 2022.

Winter barley sowing progressed to 84% from 81% the previous week, with crop conditions also falling to 86% good to excellent, from 91% last week and 98% last year, FranceAgriMer said.

In a separate statement, crop institute Arvalis said that above-average precipitation in most parts of the country over the past month had delayed field work and that farmers may need to resow some flooded parcels.

“In some cases very affected by excess water … a shift to spring or summer crops becomes inevitable,” Arvalis said.

Maize harvesting had made little progress, edging up to 97% from 94% a week earlier. Harvesting was completed by the same time in 2022.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman)

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