PARIS, FRANCE — Heavy rains are hampering the European Union’s winter grain sowings, particularly in France, cutting planted area for soft wheat and potentially hurting yields for the 2024 harvest, Reuters reported, citing consultancy Strategie Grains.

France has been inundated with wet weather in the past several weeks, bringing sowing to a near halt in many regions. 

“Growing area for 2024 crop soft wheat in the EU-27 is currently estimated 0.9% below the level of 2023, and furthermore, yields could fail to match their potential, as happened at the 2020 harvest, especially in France,” Strategie Grains said in its monthly report.

Despite rainfall also hampering maize harvesting in France, Strategie Grains raised its estimate for the 2023 crop for a third consecutive month to 61 million tonnes, from 60.6 million last month.

Strategie Grains noted good yields in western and northern Europe stood in stark contrast to the southeast, which saw disappointing results this season. 

The consultancy also raised its estimate for last summer’s soft wheat harvest by 200,000 tonnes, to 125.8 million tonnes, now stable with last year.