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French Rapeseed Starts Flowering in North as Cetiom Sees Losses

Rapeseed growth accelerated this week in the north and east of France, Europe’s largest grower of the oilseed, with flowering in full swing after warm weather, researcher Cetiom said.

Some areas suffered losses after difficulties at sowing time meant plants didn’t establish well, Paris-based Cetiom wrote in an online report today.

Temperatures in northern France rose above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) this week, Meteo France data show. Rapeseed development was slowed by an unusually cold March, with snow blanketing the country’s northwest.

“The rapeseed has progressed very rapidly in terms of stages with the week’s summery weather conditions,” Cetiom wrote. “Flowering is in full swing. Plots that suffered major defoliation by pigeons are behind.”

Dry August and September weather meant farmers in France’s northeast planted less winter rapeseed than intended, while poor and late sprouting prompted them to plow under part of the crop and reseed with winter grains, Cetiom reported in November.

“With the implantation difficulties in the autumn of 2012, the losses of rapeseed surface will be large this year,” the group wrote.

In the Meuse region, which on average accounts for 3.4 percent of France’s rapeseed surface, the area was reduced more than 60 percent, while in the Moselle region that accounts for 2.9 percent, losses were about 50 percent, Cetiom said.

For most of the north and east of France, area losses are 10 percent or less, according to the industry researcher.

France accounted for 28 percent of the European Union’s rapeseed production last year, Eurostat data show. French farmers harvested 1.61 million hectares (3.98 million acres) of the oilseed, almost exclusively planted as a winter crop, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

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