France lifted estimates for its wheat and rapeseed harvests,
and outlined the potential for a "good" corn yield too – provided crops receive
follow-up rains to timely precipitation in June and July.
France's farm ministry lifted by 567,000 tonnes to 36.78m
tonnes its forecast for its near-completed soft wheat harvest, the European
Union's biggest, taking it 34% above last year's rain-hurt crop.
The revision reflected an upgrade of 0.09 tonnes per
hectare, to 7.15 tonnes per hectare, in the yield estimate, and the figure
would have been higher were it not for results from Lorraine, in north east
France, where the ministry said that "frost and a lack of rain affected the
optimum development of wheat".
The rapeseed harvest, meanwhile, was pegged at 5.22m tonnes,
an upgrade of 557,000 tonnes, and taking production above last year's 4.74m-tonne
Again, the revision was down to an improved yield estimate, seen
at 3.58 tonnes per hectare, an upgrade of 0.38 tonnes per hectare, and taking
it 7% above the average level.
"In most of the territories, rapeseed has weathered the lack
of rain, high temperatures and frost events," the ministry said.
Indeed, the harvest would have been bigger were it not for a
"6% decline in area year on year", down in part to drought in August and
September last year which "prevented some seedings".
The upgrades follow reports of harvest results better than
had been expected earlier in the summer, after a dry spring and June heatwave.
Indeed, both Strategie Grains and research group Terres
Inovia last week raised their estimates of the French rapeseed harvest, which
will now likely eclipse that in Germany to take top rank in the EU.
Germany's rapeseed crop is estimated by the Deutscher
Raiffeisenverband farm co-operatives group at 4.78m tonnes.
'Rains in August are
France's farm ministry, in its first estimate for the country's
corn harvest this year, also forecast a rise in output, pegging production at 12.76m
tonnes, up from the 11.71m tonnes reaped in 2016.
Summer crops "are developing for the time being under favourable
conditions", the ministry said, noting "low" pest pressures, and that rains in
June and July came "at a good time.
However, with irrigation limited in some areas, "rains in August
are needed to confirm crops' good yield potential".
The French corn yield was forecast at 9.26 tonnes per
hectare, up from 81.9 tonnes per hectare last year, but output will again be
constrained by a lack of sowings, the ministry said.
Sugar beet is proving much more popular this year, with
seedings seen up 17% at 472,000 hectares, thanks to the lifting of EU