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PARIS: The condition of wheat and barley crops in France only fell slightly during the week when France was hit by a severe cold snap but recently sown spring barley was more severely hit, FranceAgriMer data showed on Friday.

For soft wheat an estimated 86% of crops were in good or excellent condition in the week to April 12, nearly stable from 87% the previous week, the farm office said in a cereal crop report.

For winter barley, 83% of crops were rated good/excellent, down from 85% the previous week while durum good/excellent ratings fell to 80% from 81% last week.

The condition of spring barley fell to 88% of crops rated good/excellent against 92% the previous week, FranceAgriMer said.

Temperatures have fallen well below zero for several nights in a row in many parts of France, the European Union’s biggest grain producer, causing major damage to vineyards, orchards and sugar beet and prompting government promises of financial aid.

The head of FranceAgriMer’s crop committee had said on Wednesday it was too early to estimate the impact on grain crops from the cold snap but there is some concern over damage in the central and southern parts of the country.

It could take several weeks to have a clear picture, he said.

For maize sowings, which are only starting, FranceAgriMer estimated that 18% of the expected crop was sown by April 12, up from 9% last week but running behind the 23% sown by the same time last year.