French Rapeseed Crop Is Seen at Up to 5.6 Million Tons

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- France’s rapeseed harvest, the European Union’s biggest, is expected to be 5.25 million to 5.6 million metric tons after rain boosted grain weight, industry researcher Cetiom said.

Average yields are estimated to be between 3.3 to 3.54 tons per hectare (2.47 acres), according to documents handed out at a news conference organized by Cetiom in Paris today.

French farmers harvested 5.37 million tons of rapeseed last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The ministry has forecast production this year will slip 1.8 percent to 5.27 million tons, based on yields of 3.3 tons per hectare.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the yields that were achieved,” Fabien Lagarde, Cetiom’s technical director, said.

The rapeseed harvest is 75 percent to 80 percent completed, according to Lagarde. Average oil content in the rapeseed is 44 percent, which is “correct” and in line with recent years, he said.

Cetiom estimates the harvested area this year at 1.59 million hectares. About 350,000 hectares of rapeseed was affected by frost that reduced yields, according to Cetiom.

Rains that continued from flowering to harvest, combined with a lack of noticeable disease pressure, compensated for the yield drop by boosting grain weight, the researcher wrote.

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