France's farm ministry raised its forecast for the country's 2023 grain maize crop for the second consecutive month, citing good growing conditions since mid-July.
In monthly estimates for major field crops in France, the ministry anticipated the ongoing maize harvest at 11.78 million metric tonnes, excluding crops grown for seeds. That compared to 11.22 million projected in September and was now 10.6% higher than last year's drought-hit crop.
The new forecast was nonetheless 9.4% below the average of the past five years, reflecting a sharp decline in the planted area.
For sugar beet, for which the harvest is also in full swing, the ministry pegged output at 31.29 million tonnes, up from 31.21 million estimated last month. That was now just 0.7% below last year's volume but still 7.9% lower than the five-year average as a high yield this year would not compensate for a drop in area.
The ministry noted that first beet harvest results showed low sugar content.
The projection for sunflower, also a summer crop, was raised to a new record of 2.17 million tonnes, up from 2.08 million in September and 38.5% above the five-year average.
For soft wheat, the most produced cereal in France, the ministry slightly increased estimated output to 35.15 million tonnes from 35.14 million last month and 4.3% above 2022.
Total barley production was raised slightly to 12.25 million tonnes, up 7.3% versus 2022. The increase was mainly due to a rise in its estimate of winter barley production, now seen at 9.66 million tonnes against 9.60 million in September and 14% above 2022.
In contrast, the ministry lowered its estimate of the 2023 rapeseed harvest to 4.27 million tonnes from 4.30 million last month, now 5.8% below last year.