* MARS service says rain in past month mostly beneficial
* EU on course for recovery from drought-hit 2018 crops
* Spain wheat, barley yields cut on parched conditions
* Sugar beet yield trimmed, rapeseed kept almost unchanged (Adds detail)
PARIS, June 17 (Reuters) - Beneficial rainfall in much of the European Union has led the bloc’s crop monitoring service to raise monthly yield forecasts for this year’s wheat and maize harvests, but parched conditions in Spain contributed to a downward revision for barley.
The EU’s crop monitoring service, MARS, in a report on Monday raised its forecast of the 2019 soft wheat yield in the EU to 6.10 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) from 6.05 t/ha last month.
That would be 8.6% above last year’s drought-affected level and 2.7% higher than the average of the past five years.
Its EU grain maize yield projection was raised to 8.05 t/ha from 7.92 t/ha, now 5.7% above the five-year average. The expected EU barley yield was trimmed to 4.92 t/ha from 4.96 t/ha last month, although this was 1.2% above the five-year mean.
Rain had boosted crops in parts of northern and northern-central Europe, including Germany and Poland, that experienced a dry spell in April, while abundant precipitation in southeast Europe and Italy also provided good moisture, MARS said.
Widespread rain in recent weeks has kept the EU on course for a recovery in cereal output this year after last year’s crop was hit by severe drought in northern Europe.
In contrast, hot, dry weather in Spain had lowered yield potential for winter cereals and spring barley, while raising the risk of water restrictions for summer irrigation of crops such as maize, MARS said.
The worsened outlook in Spain notably led MARS to trim its EU spring barley yield projection to 4.14 t/ha from 4.20 t/ha last month. That was 3.9% above last year’s yield but now 0.5% below the five-year average.
In France, the EU’s top grain producer, yield projections for soft wheat and winter barley were trimmed. MARS cited the impact of a June 7 storm that knocked over some crops, wet and cloudy weather last week that increased disease pressure and limited sunshine, and dryness in the southeast.
The forecast 2019 EU rapeseed yield was increased marginally to 3.14 t/ha from 3.13 t/ha last month. That would be 8.8% above last year’s level but 3.0% below the five-year norm, MARS said.
A drought-hit sowing campaign and weather-reduced yield prospects have led analysts to expect the smallest EU rapeseed harvest in over a decade this year.
For sugar beet, MARS lowered its yield estimate to 75.7 t/ha from 76.5 t/ha. That would be 11% higher than last year and 0.5% above the five-year average.
Reporting by Valerie Parent and Gus Trompiz, editing by Sybille de La Hamaide and David Evans