French Rapeseed Frost Damage ‘Too Early’ to Judge, Cetiom Says

Rapeseed damage from a cold snap in the north and east of France is “too early to evaluate,” said Cetiom, the country’s technical center for oilseed crops.

About 350,000 to 400,000 hectares (865,000 to 988,000 acres) of rapeseed, mainly in the Lorraine and Champagne regions, had temperatures of minus 16 to minus 15 degrees Celsius (3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit) without snow, with a low of minus 19.7 Celsius near Reims on Feb. 4, Paris-based Cetiom said in a report on its website today.

Rapeseed can resist freezing temperatures as low as minus 18 Celsius without snow to insulate the crop, providing it had a “sufficient” adaption phase, according to Cetiom. France is the European Union’s largest rapeseed grower.

“The rapeseed crops were in a good state to face this cold wave,” Cetiom wrote. “It’s too early to evaluate the consequences of the cold wave. Even in the absence of destruction of the plants, the cold wave will translate into increased defoliation.”

Freezing temperatures are affecting the soil, which will delay vegetation and the plants’ ability to regenerate, Cetiom said.

Plants should be fine in the south of the Franche Comte region, the south and west of Picardy, as well as in Burgundy and Rhone Alpes as temperatures have been above minus 15 Celsius, according to the researcher.

Defrosted rapeseed plant samples in Burgundy confirmed the “optimistic view of the situation,” Cetiom said. Barley crops, which are more sensitive to freezing temperatures, did show signs of frost damage, it 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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