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French soft wheat crop rating slips again

The condition of French soft wheat declined for a fourth consecutive week but remained well above the level a year earlier, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday, as crops emerged from a chilly, dry April.

An estimated 79% of French soft wheat was in good or excellent condition in the week to May 3, down from 81% a week earlier, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal crop report.

The drop was less than the four-point decline in the previous week, suggesting last week’s return of rain in parts of France may have helped some crops.

The good/excellent score for winter barley edged down to 76% from 77% the previous week while durum wheat and spring barley ratings were unchanged on the week.

Grain markets are watching to see if more widespread showers forecast for this week and next in France, the European Union’s biggest grain producer, will provide a boost to crops that endured record temperature lows and limited rain during April.

Crop ratings remained up from a year ago, when crops had suffered from torrential rain. The soft wheat good/excellent score compared with 57% at the same point last season.

For grain maize, the sowing campaign was nearing an end with 89% of the expected area seeded by May 3, up from 74% the previous week and 76% a year ago, FranceAgriMer said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gus Trompiz Editing by David Goodman)

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