PARIS: Dry and hot weather for the next 10 days in France after several months of low rainfall will cause irreversible damage to cereal crops in the European Union’s largest cereal producer, a technical institute said on Thursday, fueling concerns over the tight global supply.
European wheat markets have rallied in recent days on concerns about dry weather in France at a time when war in Ukraine has cut grain supplies.
Between January 1 and May 10, France will have received around 30% less rainfall than the average for the past 20 years, making the soil susceptible to drier weather, Jean-Charles Deswarte, an agronomist at the Arvalis agricultural institute.
“The weather forecaster Météo France announces no rain and warm temperatures for the next 10 days. Plants clearly won’t be able to cope with this,” he said. “There will probably be a drop in the number of ears, certainly a drop in the number of kernels per ear and, depending on the weather in the following days, probably a drop in the weight of the kernels,” he added.
Some rains in March and April relieved crops in parts of France but dried out the soil, Deswarte said, citing local expert reports. ” The worse is yet to come. Apart from deep soils and some irrigated crops, it is to be feared that the damage is irreversible. Even if it rains afterwards, the plants won’t be able to catch up,” he said.
He said regions south of Paris would be the most affected. In the breadbasket of northern France where the soil is deeper and crop development at a more advanced stage, partial damage could potentially be avoided in the event of rain at the end of May or June. “The real question is how long will this dry weather last,” he said.