France cuts its grain corn and sugar beet harvest estimates

France’s agriculture ministry on Tuesday slashed its forecast for the country’s drought-affected 2022 grain maize crop, confirming its expectation for the smallest harvest since 1990.

Grain maize production, excluding crops for seed, now stands at 10.74 million tonnes against 11.15 million forecast last month.

This is 29.4% less than last year’s bumper crop and 21.4% less than the average of the past five years, the ministry said.

The new forecast was based on a projected yield of 7.89 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), down from 8.18 t/ha estimated last month and 1.5 t/ha below the five-year average. , he specified.

“This decline in yields, linked to the summer drought, affects rainfed grain maize more…but has not spared irrigated crops,” the ministry said in a report.

Corn is one of the crops that suffered the most from the worst drought ever recorded in France, which was accompanied by several heat waves.

Farmers have almost finished harvesting maize after a rapid harvest linked to the dry and hot summer.

For sugar beet, the ministry lowered its production outlook to 31.94 million tonnes from 32.69 million tonnes forecast last month, reflecting a downward revision in expected yield to 79.41 t/ha from 81.85 t/ha.

The revised production outlook would be down 7.1% from last year and 13.6% below the five-year average.

Producers are in the middle of a sugar beet harvest. Crops have also been affected by the summer drought, while yields could also be reduced by the decision of sugar manufacturers to bring forward processing cycles in the factory to avoid possible energy problems this winter.

The ministry left the estimates for other major field crops little changed.

For common wheat, the main French cereal, the ministry has reduced its 2022 harvest estimate to 33.66 million tonnes against 33.69 million tonnes expected last month, almost 5% less than the volume of the last year.

In oilseeds, its estimates for rapeseed and sunflower seed crops remained unchanged at 4.51 million and 1.83 million tonnes respectively.
Source: Reuters (Report by Gus Trompiz and Sybille de La Hamaide Edited by David Goodman)

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