French Sugar-Beet Harvest Set to Fall to Six-Year Low on Weather


Sugar-beet production in France will fall to a six-year low this season as adverse weather hurt yields, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

Output in the European Union’s largest grower will fall 3.6 percent from a year earlier to 32.3 million metric tons in the 2016-17 season started this month, the ministry said in a report on its website Monday. That would be the lowest since 2010-11. Adverse weather during growing and development phases means yields will be 8 percent lower than the five-year average.

“Excess spring rains caused plant-growth delays and disease outbreaks,” the ministry said. “Then the lack of rains this summer also affected beet development.”

While farmers planted an area that 2 percent larger than a year earlier, lower yields will mean production will fall from 33.5 million tons a year earlier, according to the ministry, which estimates the crop based on a 16 percent sugar content. The harvest will also be smaller than the 33.1 million tons forecast last month.

French farmers are struggling this year as rainfall in spring hurt crops including wheat and barley and a dry summer hurt corn and sugar beets. Soft-wheat production in France, the EU’s largest producer, was revised down a third time to 28 million tons, a 32 percent decline from last year’s record.

Barley production was estimated at 10 million tons, down 23 percent from a year earlier, while corn output including seeds is set to drop 6.7 percent to 12.8 million tons, the ministry said. French farmers have harvested 10 percent of this year’s corn and 53 percent of the crop was in good and very-good condition, down from 56 percent a year earlier, FranceAgriMer said in Friday.

Other highlights of the report:

    Durum-wheat production was estimated at 1.56 million tons, down 14 percent from a year earlier.
    The rapeseed crop is seen at 4.6 million tons, 13 percent lower than in 2015.
    The sunflower harvest is estimated at 1.23 million tons, 4.1 percent higher than last year.
    The total grain crop is forecast at 55.1 million tons, the lowest since 2003.


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