France Eyes Wheat Export Clients, Notably Italy and Spain


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Aug 31, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

According to Agreste forecasts established on July 1, the straw cereal harvest (excluding rice) would be up by 2 million tons (Mt) over one year, at 51.3 Mt, an increase of 4%. Soft Wheat production is estimated at 35 Mt, up 3.9% from the 2022 harvest and 1.8% from the 2018-2022 average. Yield increased to 73.4q/ha compared to 71.7q/ha in 2022. Areas increased by 1.5% over one year.

As per the Crop institute Arvalis and Grain industry group Intercereales, this year’s French soft Wheat harvest is expected to show a yield 5% above the 10-year average, helped by good sowing conditions and regular rains in early spring. They said the 2023 soft Wheat yield would reach 7.5 metric tons per hectare (t/ha), up 4.5% from 7.2 t/ha last year. Arvalis and Intercereales did not give a production forecast, but their projected yield multiplied by the farm ministry’s area estimate of 4.77 million hectares would provide a soft Wheat crop of about 35.8 million metric tons, up more than two million from 33.7 million in 2022.

“It is an excellent crop which, in terms of volume and quality, will allow us to serve our French and export clients, notably Italy and Spain,” Intercereales President Jean-François Loiseau told reporters. Italy suffered from excessive rains this year, while Spain was hit with severe drought. He added that the soft Wheat crop’s volume could also attract more demand from North Africa, where French Wheat has suffered from competition from Black Sea origins.

According to AgFlow data, France exported 0.54 million tons of Wheat in July. Key markets are Morocco (372,900 tons), Spain (37,550 tons), Angola (33,000 tons), Ivory Coast (30,500 tons), and Mauritius (25,000 tons). 

Agreste reveals that the 2022 production of Durum Wheat, estimated at 1.29 Mt, is the lowest harvest recorded since 2003. It is announced to be down 3.6% compared to 2022 and 14.9% compared to the 2018 average. In 2022, due to a decrease in surface areas (-5.1%), the average yield increased by 1.5% (54q/ha). 

Compared to the 2018-2022 average, Durum Wheat production decreased significantly in its two most productive regions: -18.7% in Occitania and -15.8% in Centre-Val de Loire. In Paca, an area that concentrates 6% of the French Durum Wheat harvest in 2023 against 13% in 2003, production would decrease by 57% in 20 years due to the intensification of the water deficit.

Rapeseed production, estimated at 4.6 Mt, should be up compared to 2022 (+2.5%) and even more compared to the 2018-2022 average (+18.2%). Areas should increase by 9.6% over one year to 1.35Mha, offsetting a lower yield (34.4q/ha) after the high yield of 2022 (36.8 q/ha).

Pending the first yield estimates, Agreste has established the area of Grain Corn at 1.31Mha, down 9.1% over one year. Soybeans fell by 8.7% to 167,000 ha. Sunflower is stabilizing at 867,000ha. Protein crop production is estimated at 0.82 Mt, i.e., 11.6% more than in 2022, in line with the joint increase in surface area (+4.1%) and yield (+7.2%).

Barley Production in France

Barley production would be 11.9 Mt, up 4.6% compared to 2022 and 2.6% compared to the 2018-2022 average. That of winter Barley is estimated at 9.2Mt, up sharply compared to 2022 (+8.3%) and compared to the 2018-2022 average (+13.1%). Their yield would be 68.8q/ha, up 5.0% over one year.

Spring Barley production is estimated at 2.8 Mt, down sharply compared to 2022 (-6.2%) and even more than the 2018-2022 average (-21.5%). The marked increase in yield (56.5q/ha, +9.2%) would not compensate for the decrease in surface area (-14.1%).  

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