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French Sugar Output Seen Lower by Researcher ITB as Yields Slip

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- French sugar production from beets is set to fall in the coming crop year as wet and cool weather slows root development, hurting potential yields, industry researcher Institut Technique de Betterave said.

Sugar output is forecast between 13.2 and 15.1 metric tons a hectare (2.47 acres) of beets in the 2012-13 season, the Paris-based institute wrote in a monthly online report published today. It gave a median estimate of 13.8 tons and said final yields will depend on summer weather.

France is the European Union’s largest sugar producer and exporter. The country’s beet-sugar production will slip to 4.62 million tons in the coming season from 4.78 million tons in 2011-12, the 27-nation bloc forecasts.

“It seems that this year the weather condition benefited leaf growth to the detriment of root growth,” the ITB said. “For a given amount of leaf development, the production of root biomass is inferior to that of the past four years.”

The expected yield compares with last year’s 15 tons of beet sugar a hectare, ITB Director General Marc Richard-Molard said by phone from Paris. He said the French sugar crop is expected to be smaller.

June rainfall in the main beet-growing regions exceeded normal amounts by 45 millimeters (1.8 inches) and temperatures on average were 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) lower than usual, the ITB said. Sunshine hours were 30 percent to 40 percent of normal, it said.

“This covered, cool and very wet weather has above all benefited the growth of foliage, which everywhere is very abundant,” the researcher said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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