French wheat, barley harvesting remains slow

French wheat, barley harvesting remains slow

PARIS: French farmers made little progress harvesting wheat and barley last week as northern regions experienced more wet and cool weather, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday. Farmers had gathered 89% of this year’s soft wheat crop by Aug. 7, compared with 87% a week earlier, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal report.

The harvest was lagging both the rapid pace last year, when field work was already complete by the same week, and the average 94% for the same week over the past five years, it said.

After a brisk start to the summer, field work has been held up by heavy rain since late July, raising concern over the milling quality of wheat still to be harvested.

FranceAgriMer this week said that wheat in the northwest was expected to suffer some quality loss, though readings were satisfactory in earlier-harvested crop. However, drier and warmer conditions from the middle of this week are expected to allow farmers to complete harvesting.

The spring barley harvest hardly advanced last week, with 96% of the crop cut by Aug. 7 against 95% a week earlier. Farmers completed winter barley and durum wheat harvesting last month. The wet, mild weather has helped maize, which is harvested later in the year.

Some 85% of crops were rated in good or excellent condition, up from 81% the previous week and well above a 53% score a year ago when severe drought damaged maize, FranceAgriMer’s data showed.

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