French Rapeseed Delay Seen by Cetiom at 15 Days in Northeast

Rapeseed development in the northeast of France, Europe’s largest grower of the oilseed, is about 15 days behind normal after late planting and a difficult start to spring growth, industry researcher Cetiom said.

Farmers in Lorraine, northern Burgundy and Haute-Marne, who account for about 21 percent of France’s rapeseed area, have already plowed under “the most catastrophic” fields, Paris-based Cetiom wrote in a report dated yesterday. More tearing up of rapeseed crops may follow in coming days before it becomes too late to sow spring crops, Cetiom said.

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 million acres) of the oilseed, almost exclusively planted as a winter crop, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

“We’ve never seen a situation like this, that is to say very weak vegetative development in autumn followed by a difficult restart of vegetation,” Cetiom wrote.

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

Soils are still too cold to sow sunflowers or corn as replacement crops, according to the researcher.

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