French soft wheat rating falls further, maize planting starts

Source:  XM

Changes headline and paragraph 1, adds background and other crops in paragraphs 4-8

The state of French soft wheat has declined slightly for a second week to remain at its poorest in four years, while farmers have started planting this year’s maize crop, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday.

Some 64% of French soft wheat was rated as in good or excellent condition by April 8, down from 65% a week earlier and 94% a year ago, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal crop report.

The rating was the lowest for this time of year since 2020, when French wheat crops were also affected by heavy rain during planting, the report showed.

The good/excellent score for spring barley crops also edged down, to 60% from 61% a week earlier, to stay at the lowest for the time of year in FranceAgriMer records going back a decade.

Sowing of spring barley, which has also been slowed by wet conditions, was 91% complete by Monday. That compared with 86% a week earlier and 100% a year ago, FranceAgriMer said.

Maize planting got under way last week, with 3% of the expected area sown, compared with 9% a year ago.

Market participants are watching to see if a drier spell in France this week helps crops by letting soggy soils dry out before showers are forecast to return next week.

The good/excellent rating for winter barley edged up to 67% from 66% the prior week, while the durum wheat score was unchanged at 70%. The ratings for both crops were still four-year lows for the period.

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