PARIS: French farmers gathered 5% of this year's soft wheat crop in the week to Aug. 23, taking the total harvested to 96%, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday as more rainfall in the last week hampered work. Warm, sunny weather the previous week allowed farmers to return to the fields to gather nearly a fifth of the crop in the week to Aug. 16, but a return of rain, mainly in northern France, slowed the final stages of harvesting.
In the northerly Hauts-de-France region, a major production belt, the harvest had only advanced to 89% complete by Aug. 23 compared to 81% the previous week, the office estimated. It was finished by Aug. 10 last year.
The median date of the French soft wheat harvest was running two weeks behind last year, when field work was already finished by the same date, and 11 days behind the average of the last five years, the office said. The heavy summer rain has damaged some of the French crop's quality, especially regarding wheat's suitability for milling, although it is still expected to show good yields.