Wet autumn to cut wheat area in France, UK in setback for next harvest.
Heavy autumn rain is expected to lead to a fall in wheat sowings in France and Britain, raising early doubts over prospects for next year’s harvest in Europe. After drought hampered drilling of rapeseed in late summer, a shift to wet weather from October has disrupted the subsequent wheat and winter barley sowing campaigns, with French and British farmers facing particularly soggy field conditions.
It’s now a given that there will be a significant decrease in wheat area in France. There is wheat that won’t be sown at all and sown crop that is under water. In France, nationwide rainfall in France for October and November is expected to be 70% above the seasonal average, according to public weather service Meteo France. Farmers had sown 80% of the expected area of common wheat, or soft wheat, for next year’s harvest by Nov. 25, with sowing running a week behind the usual pace. Wheat crop ratings also declined sharply for the second week in a row, suggesting a drier spell last week brought limited benefit to waterlogged fields.
The wet weather is also expected to trim the winter barley area in France, while a further concern in the European Union’s top grain producer is the rain-delayed maize harvest, with traders reporting mycotoxin fungus in some zones. In Britain, an initial survey of sowing intentions by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) projected a 9% drop in wheat area in 2020 to a seven-year low.