PARIS, FRANCE — France is expecting a drought-hit grain maize (corn) crop of 10.74 million tonnes, down from 11.15 million tonnes projected a month ago and the lowest production since 1990, Reuters reported, citing the European Union country’s farm ministry.
Excluding crop grown for seeds, grain maize output is now seen at 29% lower than last year’s bumper crop and 21% below the average of the past five years, the ministry said. The new forecast was based on a projected yield of 7.89 tonnes per hectare, down from 8.18 tonnes per hectare estimated last month and 1.5 tonnes per hectare below the five-year average, the ministry said.
“This drop in yields, linked to the summer drought, is more affecting non-irrigated grain maize ... but has not spared irrigated crop,” the ministry said in a report.
Maize is among crops to have suffered most from France’s worst drought on record, which was accompanied by several heatwaves. Farmers have almost finished gathering maize after a swift harvest linked to the dry, hot summer.
The ministry left estimates for other major field crops little changed. For soft wheat, France’s main cereal crop, the ministry trimmed its 2022 harvest estimate to 33.66 million tonnes from 33.69 million tonnes expected last month, nearly 5% lower than last year’s volume.
In oilseeds, its estimates for the rapeseed and sunflower seed harvests were unchanged at 4.51 million and 1.83 million tonnes, respectively.