France Sees Winter Barley Crop Down 12%, Rapeseed To Stay Low
France's farm ministry has forecast that the country's 2020 winter barley crop will fall 11.7% from last year to 8.17 million tonnes as unfavourable weather affected growing conditions.
The estimate for this year is 9.1% below the average of the past five years.
The expected drop in production was mainly due to a projected fall in average yield to 6.32 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) from 7.09 t/ha last year. The crop area was estimated to have fallen slightly to 1.29 million hectares from 1.31 million.
Winter barley endured soggy conditions during autumn, which curbed sowings and affected crop establishment, and then suffered from spring drought, particularly in the northeast, the ministry said in a crop report.
For winter rapeseed, the ministry forecast production at 3.46 million tonnes, almost unchanged compared with 2019 and 27.3% below the 2015-2019 average.
A slight increase in the yield, projected at 3.18 t/ha against 3.13 t/ha last year, was offset by an estimated decrease in crop area to 1.09 million hectares from 1.11 million.
Winter rapeseed represents almost the entire rapeseed crop in France.
However, barley production includes a significant volume of spring crop, and farmers have turned more to spring barley this year after rain-hampered sowing of winter cereals.
The ministry increased its estimate of spring barley sowing to 729,000 hectares from 717,000 last month. That was now 14.1% above last year's level and 45.5% above the five-year average.
For soft wheat, France's main cereal crop, the ministry trimmed its area estimate to 4.59 million hectares from 4.62 million last month, now 8.3% lower than the 2019 level.
It also trimmed its estimate of the grain maize area, to 1.57 million hectares from 1.60 million last month, but this would be 8.5% higher than last year.
Estimated sugar beet plantings were raised slightly to 425,000 hectares from 424,000 last month. That was 4.9% below the 2019 area.