Farm office FranceAgriMer has lowered its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the European Union in 2023/24 to 10.1 million metric tonnes from 10.2 million projected last month, now 0.5% below last season's level.
In a supply and demand outlook, the office also cut its forecast for French soft wheat shipments within the EU this season, to 6.55 million tonnes from 6.69 million expected in December and 2.5% higher than the 2022/23 volume.
French soft wheat stocks at the end of the 2023/24 season were now projected at 3.44 million tonnes, compared with 3.22 million forecast last month and 34.7% up from last season.
For barley, FranceAgriMer forecast 2023/24 ending stocks at 2.11 million tonnes, up from 1.81 million last month, after reducing the estimate for exports outside the EU by a similar volume. Barley stocks at the end of this campaign would now be more than twice the volume at the end of June last year.
Maize ending stocks for the end of 2023/24 were also revised up to 2.18 million tonnes, from 2.00 million forecast last month and are now 31.9% above last season. The revision followed a rise in the projected volume of maize to be marketed this season.
Data from early December showed French farmers had sown 89% of the expected soft wheat area for 2023/24's harvest by 4 December, as a rain-delayed sowing campaign edged towards a close.
The soft wheat sowing pace lagged 99% progress a year earlier and a 96% average for the same period over the past five years. France, the European Union's biggest grain producer, had record rainfall between mid-October and mid-November.