France: Farmers step up winter barley sowing, harvesting of maize thanks to good weather
French farmers stepped up harvesting of maize and sowing of winter wheat and barley last week in dry, sunny weather, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on October 22.
An estimated 32% of the grain maize crop area had been harvested by Oct. 18, up from 15% a week earlier, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal report.
However, harvest progress remained well behind the pace seen last year when 75% of the crop had been cut by the same stage, it said.
Growth of maize crops has been curbed this year by cool spells of weather in spring and summer, while heavy rain in late September held up early harvest work.
Maize crop development is running about 10 days behind the average rate of the past five years, according to FranceAgriMer.
A sunny spell bridging the past two weekends helped dry out fields and reduce maize crop moisture, an important factor in avoiding post-harvest drying costs to meet market requirements.
Sowing of soft wheat and winter barley for next year's harvest also accelerated last week.
FranceAgriMer said 40% of the expected soft wheat area had been drilled by Oct. 18, up from 13% a week earlier and matching year-earlier progress.
Winter barley sowing was 59% complete against 24% the prior week and 54% a year earlier.
Field work may slow this week after heavy rain in parts of France.
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