PARIS: The condition of French soft wheat was unchanged for a second week in a row, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday, after rain eased dry conditions that had stressed some crops last month.

An estimated 79% of soft wheat was in good or excellent condition in the week to May 17, matching the two previous weeks, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal crop report.

FranceAgriMer does not give reasons for rating trends in its weekly updates, but officials last week said that the return of rain had stabilised growing conditions.

The office's cereal crop ratings had fallen sharply during April as plants endured dryness and frosts before rain returned at the end of last month.

However, the grain market is monitoring persisting cool temperatures in May that could hamper crop growth and potentially delay this summer's harvest.

For other cereals, crop ratings eased compared with the previous week.

The good/excellent scores for winter and spring barley lost one point each to 75% and 84% respectively.

For recently sown grain maize, 93% of crops were rated good/excellent, down from 96% the previous week.

Crop ratings in France, the European Union's biggest grain producer and exporter, remain much higher than a year ago, when crops suffered from torrential rain.

The soft wheat good/excellent score compared with 57% at the same point last season.

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