WASHINGTON — Projections made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the upcoming French harvest indicated one that, in line with forecasts for the rest of Europe, will be plentiful, especially in the case for wheat. The U.S.D.A. forecast French wheat production this year at 36.64 million tonnes. While production was foreseen to be good, it would fall short of last year’s record outturn of 37.2 million tonnes.
Surface area dedicated to growing of wheat this year was reduced after a steady increase over the previous few years. Area planted to wheat for harvest this year was estimated at 5.3 million hectares, including 4.9 million to 5 million hectares for soft wheat.
A particularly wet autumn pushed back the sowing season in northern parts of France, which was expected to delay the harvest season.
The Office National Interprofessionnel des Grandes Cultures (O.N.I.G.C.) did not predict a shortage of grain even with the smaller crop forecast, as the 2008-09 wheat ending stocks were larger than usual. Farmers retained heavy stocks from last year’s harvest in the hope they’d be able to receive a better price later. Ample stocks were expected to offset the decrease in production this year.