Heavy rainfall in France over the past two weeks has brought grain sowing virtually to a standstill in the European Union's largest grain grower and lower yields are to be expected in some regions, technical institute Arvalis recently said.
Concerns about prospects for the 2024 French harvest have contributed to a rise in European wheat prices this month.
Favourable Sowing Conditions
Farmers benefited from very favourable sowing conditions at the start of the planting season, but above-average rainfall in the last ten days of October hampered sowings, Arvalis crop engineer Jean-Charles Deswarte told Reuters.
"In some regions, farmers could not even enter their field because it was so wet," he said.
Farmers had sown 62% of the expected soft wheat area in France by 30 October, compared with 55% a week earlier and a five-year average of 72%, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday.
The situation was even worse for durum wheat, which was only 10% sown by the same date.
Rainfall was more than 30% above average over a large part of France last month, weather forecaster Meteo France said in a report. It expects showers every day in most grain-growing regions until at least 21 November.
The main concern for crops was in the centre and western parts of France, Deswarte said.
"They received a lot of rain over there and since farmers usually sow in the second part of October, they were not able to do much so far. And even if it stopped raining waterlogged soils mean they would not be able to enter the fields for a few days," Deswarte said.
"This will delay sowings even further and reduce yield potential," he added.
A one-month delay can cut grain crops' yield potential by 10% to 20%, he said.