RMI Analytics Crop Tour Report – 2016 France
From June 7 to 9 RMI Analytics conducted a tour of cooperatives, trial and commercial barley fields, in the Central Region near Chartres, the Champagne-Ardenne area near Reims and in the Eastern border of Picardy.
During the two weeks before the crop tour these regions received significant amounts of rainfall with localized flooding, waterlogged fields and rivers running at very high levels.
In the areas North and East of Chartres, below Paris, up to 40mm of rain fell in an hour during the previous weekend, which is very high considering annual rainfall is only 600mm.
During the heavy rainfall winter barley was susceptible to, and suffered from, lodging and following the rain barley has been exposed to a high risk of developing fusarium due to the warm, humid conditions being experienced in both regions.
Spring barley is also susceptible to fusarium as it was in the flowering stage during the heavy rain of the last weeks of May and first days of June.
In the Central Region lodging was observed in winter barley as well as diseases including fusarium, with expectations about 10% of barley was affected, which is a far better outlook than many crop tour participants expected.
That said, a more concrete understanding will be had in about 15 days when the crop has had more time to begin to express any problems.
Spring barley was expected to suffer from fusarium as well but it was still too early and the full impact couldn’t yet be accurately judged.
Expected yields are 7.5MT/Ha in winter barley close to Chartres and into the East of Axereal’s region of operation near Ballancourt-sur-Essonne, with last year yielding up to 8.5-10mt/Ha with screenings of 88-92%, an exceptional year.
As well as fusarium damage the impact of aphids and barley yellow dwarf virus was also apparent following another warm winter which left crops susceptible to attack until December, a once very unusual situation but now an increasingly regular occurrence.
For spring barley in the same region 7.5-8MT/Ha has been recorded in previous years but this year expectations are for 6-6.4MT/Ha.
In wheat fusarium disease pressure was seen with some fields showing the impact of extensive fungus infection, with flag leaves under attack, also empty kernels were observed in almost every ear but this could also be due to frost damage.
As said, more time is needed to see what the actual damage may be but early yield expectations are for 8.5MT/Ha near Chartres.
In the Central Region, which takes in Axereal’s territory, rain is forecast for over the weekend and into next week which means the current humid and warm conditions will persist making the job of controlling fungus much harder.
It is worth noting farmers were seen conducting spraying during the tour. Harvest of winter barley is expected in three weeks while spring barley will commence in four to five weeks.
Further East in Vivescia’s territory around Reims 150mm of rain has fallen since May out of a total normal annual rainfall of 800mm.
Around this region of the Champagne-Ardennes stretching up into the East of Picardy soils are predominately silt, followed by limestone based and then clay in the far South and far North with these types generally well-draining, which helps provide dry crops at harvest time.
Overall in Vivescia’s territory the three-year-average yields for winter barley are 6.97MT/Ha in the North Ardennes, 8.3MT/Ha around Reims and 6.5MT/Ha in the Barrois region.
This year in the North Ardennes on the border of Picardy we heard of 8MT/Ha expected in winter barley (down from 8.6MT/Ha last year) but with lower quality as fusarium infection was seen in roots and in kernels.
For the Reims region we heard farmers expectations are for a harvest of 7.8MT/Ha for winter barley with aphids, frost and fusarium limiting expectations.
While further south in the Barrios region a crop in line with the three-year-average is expected.
Regarding spring barley, harvest is four to five weeks away and water supplies are more than adequate as barley enters the grain filling stage, but the period now holds the most risk regarding disease and frost damage.
Average yields for Vivescia’s farmers in the North Ardennes on spring barley are 6.1MT/Ha, 7.3MT/Ha near Riems and 5.7MT/Ha in the Barrios region. This year a broad figure of 6.4-7.8MT/Ha average is thought for spring barley across the whole visited region with spring crops looking excellent in the field.
In coming days conditions around Reims are expected to see rain moving in on Sunday with more showers forecast for next week, again continuing the humid and hot conditions which are perfect for the development of fungus.
As well as field visits during the tour Carl Zeiss Spectroscopy gave a detailed presentation about their latest scanning technology which allows storage facilities to segment grain rapidly based on moisture, protein and a host of other measures.
Participants heard the scanners are currently in use by some French cooperatives and their use is increasing, allowing grain accumulators to better segment shipments, retain data on their stores and ship to specifications with confidence.
This is the first RMI Analytics crop tour of 2016 and we would like to offer our sincere thanks to sponsors Axereal, Evergrain, KWS Cereals, Vivescia and Zeiss their much valued support.
Thanks as well go to local farmers who opened their doors and shared their passion for the malting barley.
Also it’s important to remember to thank the participants who make this unique malting barley industry networking opportunity such a success and we thank them for their participation and keen interest in our French crop tour.
The next RMI Analytics crop tour will be in the Czech Republic from July 7-8.
Manager of Market Insights and Reporting
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