French farmers are well behind last year with the planting of spring barley. Wet weather conditions have hindered spring barley planting in France, posing early challenges to production in the EU’s leading barley exporter.

As of March 4, only 28% of the 2024 French spring barley crop had been planted, a marginal increase from the previous week’s 27%, and well below the average of 71% for this time of year.

While there have been brief periods of drier weather, allowing for some progress depending on soil conditions, forecasts indicate wetter conditions over the weekend and into the following week, potentially disrupting planting once again. From 2019 to 2023, just under 30% of the French crop was spring-sown, according to the French Ag Ministry. A rebound in the spring barley area is expected following particularly low planting figures in 2023.

Despite the anticipated increase in spring planting, French barley output is still projected to be lower in 2024 than in 2023. The winter barley crop has faced challenges, with the area down by 7%, according to the French Ag Ministry, and crop conditions notably poorer compared to the previous year. As of March 4, the French Ag Ministry estimated that 69% of the crop was in good or very good condition, down 1% from the previous week and significantly below last year’s figure of 92%.

Later planted crops often incur yield penalties, potentially leading to further reductions in the planted area or decreased yields, both of which could further limit French barley production in 2024. Continued monitoring of conditions and planting progress is essential for assessing the potential outcomes.