French 2017/18 wheat production revised down 1% to 36.6 million mt

13 Feb 2018 | Tom Houghton

France’s 2017/18 winter wheat crop is set to total 36.59 million mt – 32.8% higher than last year, but 1.1% lower than previously forecast – agriculture ministry agency Agreste said in an update Tuesday.

France is the EU’s biggest wheat producer, but poor weather during the 2016/17 growing campaign led to a significant drop-off in yields.

French farmers produced 27.6 million mt of wheat, a figure which Agreste now say recovered to 36.6 million mt the following season despite a reduction in area.

The figure is 1.1% lower than its previous production update in mid-November, with a revision of the total planted area driving the adjustment.

On an EU-wide basis, Agreste also expects the 2017 corn crop to total 65.46 million mt, 7.7% higher than in 2016 as French, Romanian and German production compensates for losses seen in Hungary.

Looking ahead

French soft winter wheat plantings for the 2017/18 harvest were more-or-less unchanged year-on-year, up 0.1% on last year’s area to 4.96 million hectares.

Notable regional variation is seen on a regional basis, with major grower Picardie increasing area by 1.2% while neighbouring Lorraine is set to reduce its planted milling wheat area by 9%.

The overall wheat planting figure is 1.5% below the 5-year average, although it is too soon to know the fate of the French crop, with planted area just one of several factors determining overall production.

Planted barley area has been reduced 2.3% year-on-year to 1.37 million hectares, putting it at a level comparable with the 2015 but still 2.7% above the five-year average.

On the oilseed front, rapeseed plantings are forecast to rise 6.7% year-on-year to 1.5 million hectares, partially making up for last year’s sharp reduction in area and pushing it 1.3% above the five-year average.