PARIS, FRANCE — Recent rains have dampened the outlook for France’s wheat and barley while slowing maize (corn) planting in the European Union’s largest grains producer, Reuters reported, citing data from farm office FranceAgriMer.

A warm, sunny stretch earlier in May had helped crops and soil dry out after a damp growing season, but recent showers have raised concern that wet conditions may damage maturing wheat and barley while preventing farmers from completing maize planting.

The condition of French soft wheat declined slightly last week to remain at a four-year low. Some 63% of French soft wheat was rated as in good or excellent condition by May 20, down from 64% a week earlier and 93% a year ago, FranceAgriMer said. The rating was the lowest for the time of year since 2020, when French wheat crops also were affected by heavy rain during planting.

The good/excellent score for durum wheat, used in pasta, fell to 64% from 66% the previous week. For barley, the winter barley rating was unchanged on the week at 66% while the spring barley score fell to 73% from 74%.

Farmers had sown 78% of the expected maize area compared with 73% a week earlier. That was well behind last year's progress of 93% and a five-year average of 96%.