UPDATE 1-France reduces almost all 2020 harvest estimates

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PARIS, October 13 (Reuters) – The French agriculture ministry on Tuesday lowered nearly all of its estimates for grains, oilseeds and sugar beet this year after unfavorable weather conditions throughout the season.

In a monthly crop report, the ministry lowered its estimate of the 2020 grain corn harvest, which is currently being harvested, to 13.5 million tonnes from 14.1 million tonnes last month, after a sharp reduction of its performance forecasts.

The ministry said the grain corn harvest, excluding seed production, would still be 6% above last year’s volume and 4% above the five-year average due to over large seeded area.

The ministry also lowered its sugar beet crop estimate to 30.5 million tonnes, from 32.2 million last month. The new figure is 20% lower than last year’s harvest.

For soft wheat, the ministry lowered its 2020 estimate to 29.2 million tonnes, from 29.5 million last month due to a reduction in both the area seeded and yield forecasts, confirming that the EU’s largest cereal producer has harvested one of its smallest crops in years.

The revised soft wheat production estimate is down 26% from last year’s volume and 18% below the five-year average.

French winter crops suffered from heavy rains during planting and a dry spring which hampered crop development.

The ministry also lowered its barley harvest forecast to 10.5 million tonnes, from 11.0 million last month. The estimate is now 23% lower than last year’s harvest and 13% below the five-year average.

He fixed the rapeseed harvest at 3.27 million tonnes, down 7% from last year and 32% below the five-year average.

The department has also cut almost all of its other forecasts for grains and oilseeds. (Report by Sybille de La Hamaide, edited by Forrest Crellin and Mark Potter)

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