French wheat crop rating improves as weather warms up
Writes through to add weather background, other cereal ratings
PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) - The condition of French soft wheat improved slightly in the week to June 7, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday, suggesting a warm spell was benefiting crops in the European Union's biggest grain producer.
An estimated 81% of French soft wheat was rated good or excellent in the week to June 7, up from 80% the previous week, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal crop report.
That compared with just 56% in the corresponding week last year, when France went on to harvest one of its smallest crops in years.
After declining in April amid dry, cold weather, cereal crop ratings stabilised last month as widespread rain fell, and now appeared to be getting a boost from warmer temperatures.
Temperatures are expected to reach 30 degrees Celsius (86°F) in much of France in the coming days, but traders say storms forecast for the middle of next week should bring moisture and milder heat to avert the risk of crop stress.
Among other cereals, good/excellent ratings for spring barley and durum wheat both rose by 2 points, to 86% and 70% respectively, while the scores for winter barley and grain maize were unchanged on the week, at 76% and 91% respectively.
The warm spell is also expected to help reduce lagging crop development after the chilly start to spring.
Soft wheat crops were running about a week behind their usual growth pace, FranceAgriMer said.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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