Adds detail, spring sowing outlook
PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) – France’s farm ministry on Thursday lowered its estimate of the area sown with winter soft wheat for the 2022 harvest to 4.75 million hectares (mln ha) from 4.92 mln ha in its initial projection in December.
The reduced estimate was down 4.3% compared with the 4.96 mln ha harvested in 2021 and was also 1% lower than the average area of the past five years, the ministry said in a crop report.
The expected winter barley area was increased to 1.25 mln ha from 1.23 mln ha previously, now up 4.6% from last year’s harvest but 1.6% below the five-year average.
For winter rapeseed, France’s main oilseed crop, the area for 2022 was revised up to 1.16 mln ha from 1.10 mln ha in December. That was now 18% above the 2021 level although 6.9% below the five-year average.
Wheat and rapeseed in France are almost exclusively winter crops, while barley production comprises a significant share of the spring crop.
Weather conditions were currently favourable for crop development, the ministry said.
For spring sowing in the coming months, it said a survey of farmer intentions carried out in December suggested that the spring barley area would be stable to lower compared with last year.
Among other spring crops, farmer plans pointed to a drop of at least 6% in the overall area of grain and fodder maize (corn).
For sugar beet, the area was seen stable to down 3%, while for sunflower seed sowings were expected to decline by at least 3%.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz, editing by Sybille de La Hamaide and Susan Fenton)
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