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Early Year Weather Conditions Delay French Harvest

Early Year Weather Conditions Delay French Harvest

16 August 2013

FRANCE - The French harvest has been delayed by between 10 and 15 days because of bad weather conditions earlier in the year.

Planting was delayed earlier in the year because of the prolonged cold winter and cool wet conditions in the spring.

However, according to the national agricultural organisation, FranceAgriMer, the warm July and start to August has allowed the harvest to get underway, although it has also been delayed by recent rainstorms.

The wheat harvest is expected to have higher than the five year average yields and it has already been completed in the South of France and is well underway in other regions such as north of the Seine and in the English Channel regions.

According to FranceAgriMer’s survey taken earlier this month production is more than 36 million tonnes compared to 35.6 million tonnes in 2012.

The area of wheat planted grew by about 130,000 hectares and is close to 5 million hectares this year and the yield is 74 tonnes per hectare over the five year average of 72.7 tonnes per hectare.

While some areas were hit by the wet conditions, those that had suffered drought benefited from the heavy rainfall and produced some good results.

On average, yields are average to good in the Southwest, in Auvergne and Rhône-Alps with levels around 60-65 t / ha. Poitou-Charentes, Pays de la Loire and Burgundy had yields between 65 and 70 t / ha. Yields are between 70 and 80 t/ ha in
Brittany, and the Central and North-East regions. North of the Seine, the yields are good to very good, with averages more than 80 t / ha or 90 t / ha and maximum around 120 t / ha.

FranceAgriMer says that the Durum Wheat crop has been completed in nearly all areas with an average yield of 51 tonnes per hectare, above the five year average.

The crop is expected to be about 1.7 million tonnes a drop from last year when it was 2.4 million tonnes largely because of a drop of 22 per cent in area.

The low price differential between wheat and durum wheat had encouraged producers to concentrate on wheat.

Exceptional yields have been seen in the South East where the average was more than 40 tonnes per hectare.

Yields were variable in the South West and South because of the different soil types and also problems with Fusarium. On average yields were between 40 and 55 t / h in the Midi-Pyrenees, between 55 and 60 t / h in Poitou-Charentes and le Berry. In the Pays de Loire they were around 65 t / h and reached 70 t / h in the north of the Central region.

Protein levels are generally around 13 per cent to 13.5 per cent.

A reduction in the area plants has seen a fall in the amount of barley produced – down to 10.6 million tonnes from 11.3 million tonnes in 2012. The area planted was down by about three per cent.

However, the winter sown barley rose by more than 14 per cent while the spring sown barley fell by 27 per cent and this is down to a return to a more normal rotation scheme following the bad weather that affected the 2012 sowing.

The winter barley harvest is almost complete and is showing a 10 per cent rise with the national average yield of around 66 t / h. The harvest of winter barley is expected to reach 7.5 million tonnes compared to 6.7 million tonnes in 2012.

The regional yields are close to 55 t / h in the Mid Pyrenees, Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes. Poitou-Charentes and Burgundy had averages of 60 to 65 t / h, which the Pays de la Loire, the Central and the North East regions had yields of 65 to 70 t / h.

The North and the North West regions had yields that exceeded 70 t / h and even reached 80 t / h.

The spring barley crop fell by about a third compared to 2012 because of a lower area planted and yields below the five year average at 62 t / h. The harvest is expected to reach 3.1 million tonnes compared to 4.6 million tonnes last year.

In the regions, very good results are expected tin Ile-de-France where yields are expected to be around 70 t / h and in Picardy where the yields could reach between 57 and 80 t / h.

However, they are disappointing in Burgundy and Lorraine where they will only be about 50 t / h.

In Champagne-Ardenne and the Central regions yields are expected to be 65 t / h.

Protein levels are low at around nine or 10 per cent.

Rapeseed production is expected to have fallen by about 20 per cent with the harvest nearly complete except in the northerly regions.

With a national average yield of 31 t / h and a significant reduction in the area planted production is expected to be down to 4.5 million tonnes compared to 5.5 million tonnes the previous year.

Production in Pays de la Loire, the Central region, Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne, Lorraine and Poitou-Charentes is expected to be between 25 and 30 t / h and between 35 and 40 t / h in the North and North West regions. In the South and South West yields are 30 t / h.


Chris Harris

Chris Harris

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