French cereal crop conditions stay favorable in hot spell

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PARIS — Cereal crop ratings in France were stable in the week to June 14, with field conditions staying mostly favorable during a hot spell, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday.

An estimated 81% of soft wheat, France’s main cereal crop, was in good or excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week and well above a year-earlier score of 56%, FranceAgriMer said in a weekly cereal report.

Increasingly hot weather this month has generally been viewed as beneficial for crops after a chilly spring, keeping France on course for a rebound from last year’s disappointing harvest.

Temperatures in France, the European Union’s biggest grain producer, reached 30 degrees Celsius (86°F) or above in much of the country earlier this week, but storms from mid-week that brought rain and more moderate heat are expected to limit the risk of crop stress.

FranceAgriMer’s latest update showed soft wheat crops were still running about a week behind their average growth pace of recent years, despite expectations that the warm spell would quicken their development.

However, traders have reported this week some initial harvesting of winter barley near the west coast of France, suggesting a similar time frame for the harvest to last year.

No winter barley harvesting was recorded in the week to June 14, with the good/excellent rating for crops unchanged at 76%.

Ratings for spring barley and grain maize were also stable, at 86% and 91% respectively, FranceAgriMer said.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin Editing by David Evans and Mark Potter)