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France Had Chilly June as Excess Rain Caused Southwest Flooding

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July 5 (Bloomberg) -- France, the European Union’s largest grain producer, had a chilly June, while excess rain in the main corn-growing region in the Southwest caused flooding.

Last month’s average temperature was 17.8 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit), 0.7 degree below normal for June, the Paris-based Agriculture Ministry wrote in an online report today. Rain on average was 8 percent lower than normal across the country, while in the Southwest it was 53 percent higher.

Corn conditions have worsened in the Southwest, with the crop rated as good or excellent in the Aquitaine region sliding for a sixth week as of June 24, according to crop office FranceAgriMer. The region and neighboring Midi-Pyrenees grow about 30 percent of France’s corn.

“Rainfall diverges by region, severe flooding in the Southeast and a deficit in the Center-East, Southeast and Corsica,” the ministry wrote. “Temperatures remain fresh across almost all of the territory.”

Communities in the Southwest suffered severe floods and mud slides between June 17 and 20, with the Gave de Pau River rising the most since the 1950s, the ministry wrote.

In the Southwest, temperatures averaged 17.2 degrees Celsius last month, 1.6 degrees below normal and France’s coldest region relative to long-term average temperatures.

The country’s north, which accounts for about 55 percent of French wheat production, averaged 16.2 degrees Celsius, 0.4 degree below normal and the sixth month of colder-than-usual temperatures, the ministry’s weather data show.

National rainfall averaged 5 centimeters (2 inches) in May, ranging from 1.2 centimeters in Corsica to 10.1 centimeters in the Southwest, the ministry said. Total rainfall since March 1 was 26 percent above usual amounts in the country, it said.

Soil-humidity levels as of June 1 were close to normal for the Southeast, slightly deficient on the coast in the North and above normal for the rest of the country, particularly the Northeast and Southwest, the report showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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