France’s Corn Crop to Fall by 28% Due to Drought
France’s 2015 corn harvest is forecast to fall by 28% year on year to a nine-year low because of reduced sowing and drought, according to farm ministry officials. Corn yields are expected to fall by 19.6% to 8.1 tons per hectare, while planted area is down by 10.2% to 1.66 million hectares.
The country’s crop (historically the EU largest) is expected to fall far below market expectations, totaling 13.47 million tons, the lowest showing since 2002. Industry group, Coceral forecasted a 15.5 million ton crop in June, Copa Cogeca set its estimate at 16 million tons last month, and ADM Germany (formerly Toepfer) projected a crop of 14.2 million tons on July 28.
The ministry is attributing the decline to temperatures ranging about 5 degrees Celsius above normal, and growing areas receiving only 20% of normal rainfall.
Declines in output are expected for other European countries as well, including Germany, Italy and Romania, leading analysts to believe it likely that the EU will need to substitute wheat for corn in feed rations, or increase corn imports. Shipments will most probably be sourced from Ukraine, or possibly from Brazil, but quality and GM issues may limit purchases from South America.