France’s 2022 corn crop, which began as one of the country’s highest-rated on record, was on Friday downgraded to the worst, sapped by persistent heat and deepening drought.

FranceAgriMer, the official French crop bureau, slashed by 9 points the proportion of French corn assessed as being in “good” or “excellent” condition as of Monday.

The week-on-week decline, one of the largest on statistics going back to 2011, cut to 53% the proportion of the crop viewed as good or excellent – demoting the crop to the worst-rated for this time of year on the FranceAgriMer database.

The rating presents a sharp contrast with assessments French corn received at the start of the growing season, kicking off in May with a 95% good or excellent figure, the second-highest initial reading, behind only the 96% earned by last year’s crop.

It also comes the day after Strategie Grains slashed 10.0m tonnes from its 2022 European Union corn harvest forecast, thanks largely to worries over the French crop.

Paris corn futures for November edged 0.4% higher to E336.00 a tonne in early deals, their highest since June 20, and taking to 25% their rebound from a low reached on July 6, when the crop was still rated at about 84% good or excellent.

Brittany collapse

Corn condition declined in all 11 regions monitored by FranceAgriMer in the week to Monday.

However, the steepest drop was recorded for Brittany, in the north west, where the good or excellent reading collapsed to 35% – from 72% the week before.

By contrast, 30% of Brittany corn was assessed as being in “bad” or “very bad” health, up from 4% as of August 1.

The crop in the Ile de France region, around Paris, also suffered a notable decline, slumping to 34% good or excellent from 63% a week before.

Corn in eastern France is faring best, with that in Grande Est-Alsace holding a rating of 77%, down 8 points week on week, and that in Grande Est-Champagne, Ardenne an 83% reading, falling 5 points from August 1.