PARIS, FRANCE — Adverse weather and pest infestation has led to a decrease in France’s production of wheat and barley but there is still hope for corn, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In early August 2020, an estimated 90% of the country’s wheat crop had been harvested but its soft wheat crop is estimated to be the third smallest in history. The USDA forecasts France’s soft wheat crop to be about 29.5 million tonnes — to 29.7 million tonnes. The country’s durum crop is not expected to surpass 1.3 million tonnes making France’s total wheat production 31 million tonnes, 25% lower than in 2019.

France’s 2020-21 market year wheat crop was challenged with heavy rains in fall 2019, which prevented sowing, a mild winter that led to an aphid’s infestation and then a dry spring creating moisture stress.  

Due to decreased production wheat exports also are expected to fall. The USDA estimates France to export between 13 million tonnes and 15 million tonnes of the commodity in the 2020-21 marketing year, which compared with 23 million tonnes in 2019-20.

France’s barley crop for the 2020-21 marketing year also battled similar weather and pest infestation as wheat. Despite an increase in areas planted the USDA anticipates France’s barley production to total 11.3 million tonnes.

While wheat and barley struggled with dry weather, the country’s corn sector production for the 2020-21 marketing year is deemed good to excellent condition. The southwest of France is less impacted by the drought and a significant part of the corn crop is irrigated, the USDA said.

Although some corn farmers still remain concerned corn could be negatively impacted by a persistent drought throughout August and September curtailing the grain filling period.