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French maize harvest off to slow start

French farmers have begun gathering this year’s grain maize crop, in a slower start to the harvest than last year, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday.

In the week ending Sept. 20, 1% of the crop area had been cut compared with 15% a year earlier, the office said in a weekly cereal report.

The pace of growth has been curbed this year by cool spells during spring and summer, while heavy rain in the southwest since last week has held up early harvest work.

Harvesting is expected to accelerate this week during a sunny spell.

For the 50% moisture stage that precedes maize harvesting, crops were running 10 days behind the average pace of the past five years, FranceAgriMer said.

The condition of maize remained favourable, with 89% of crops rated good or excellent like the previous week, its report showed.

Maize has benefitted from heavy summer rain that damaged earlier-harvested wheat.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jason Neely)

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