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French maize harvest 73% complete by Nov. 1

French farmers had harvested 73% of the grain maize crop area by Nov. 1, compared with 54% a week earlier but still well behind the usual pace, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday.

This year’s harvest was showing an 11-day lag compared with the average progress of the past five years, the office said.

Last year’s harvest was 93% complete by the same date, FranceAgriMer said in a weekly cereal report.

Growth of maize crops this year has been curbed by cool spells in spring and summer.

Traders say soaring prices and reduced availability of gas have also complicated post-harvest drying of maize, leading some farmers to leave crops in the field longer to dry.

Wet weather earlier this week could slow harvest progress before a dry spell forecast for the week ahead.

Winter cereal sowing remained close to the average pace of recent years, FranceAgriMer’s data showed.

For soft wheat, France’s main cereal crop, 80% of the expected area had been drilled by Nov. 1, up from 61% a week earlier.

Winter barley sowing was 90% complete, against 78% the previous week, while durum wheat sowing progressed to 26% complete from 7%, FranceAgriMer said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin Editing by Toby Chopra and David Goodman )

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