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PARIS: France's farm ministry on Tuesday raised its estimate of the country's 2021 grain maize and sugar beet harvests because summer rains led to better yields than initially expected.

The ministry pegged this year's grain maize crop, harvesting of which is in progress, at 13.9 million tonnes this month, up from its previous forecast of 13 million tonnes and 4.3% bigger than last year's harvest. Grain maize estimates exclude seeds. The sugar beet estimate was increased to 34 million tonnes from 33.1 million a month ago. That would be 29.6% above last year's poor harvest, which had been hit by bad weather and pest attacks, but still 8.3% below the five-year average, the ministry said.

"Maize, sunflower and beet harvests have benefited from the summer rains and should be significantly up from 2020 if weather conditions remain favourable," the ministry said.

On the other hand ,the wet weather hurt winter grain crops such as soft wheat and barley in the European Union's largest grain grower, the ministry said.

The ministry cut its estimate for soft wheat to 35.2 million tonnes from the 36.1 million forecast last month, though that still exceeds last year's harvest by nearly 21%.

The barley harvest was now expected at 11.4 million tonnes, down from 11.7 million tonnes seen last month. For rapeseed, France's main oilseed crop, forecast production was left unchanged at 3.3 million tonnes, virtually stable on last year's weak volumes despite a sharp drop in the planted area.

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