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French Rapeseed-Area Losses in Burgundy and Lorraine Seen at 50%

French winter-rapeseed area losses may reach 50 percent in northern Burgundy and the Lorraine region, which typically account for almost a fifth of France’s plantings, industry researcher Cetiom said.

“Very dry” August and September conditions meant farmers in the regions planted 15 percent less rapeseed than intended, while poor and late crop emergence prompted them to plow under 5 percent of the area and reseed with winter grains, Cetiom wrote in an online report today. More fields will probably be plowed under after the winter, the Paris-based researcher said.

France is the European Union’s largest rapeseed grower. French farmers harvested 1.61 million hectares (3 million acres) of the oilseed this year, almost exclusively planted as a winter crop, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

“We’ll have to wait for the end of winter to have a clearer view of the situation and of the surfaces that could really be lost,” Cetiom wrote.

In Lorraine and north of Burgundy, losses may be as much as 50 percent of the planted area, according to the report. Based on the area harvested in 2012 and the share of northern Burgundy and Lorraine plantings, that would amount to about 150,000 hectares.

In the two regions, 10 percent to 25 percent of the rapeseed area is expected to be plowed under in the spring, while the situation is uncertain for another 20 percent to 40 percent of the planted crop, according to Cetiom.

Farmers in Lorraine and Burgundy seeded a “large” area with spring barley after a cold wave in February killed part of the wheat crop, resulting in very dry soils that caused “major difficulties” in preparing fields for planting with the following rapeseed crop, Cetiom wrote.

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