France: Farm ministry cuts soft wheat area estimate, raises outlook for winter barley and rapeseed
France's farm ministry on February 11 cut its estimate for the area sown with soft wheat this winter in the European Union's largest grain producer ahead of the 2020 harvest, but raised its outlook for barley and rapeseed, the Business Recorder reported.
In its second estimate for the 2020, crop, the ministry cut its estimate for winter soft wheat sowings in France to 4.70 million hectares from 4.73 million hectares in December.
This would now be down 5.6pc from the 2019, area, it said in a crop report.
The farm ministry raised its estimate of the 2020 winter barley area to 1.31 million hectares from 1.25 million hectares seen in December, and the 2020 winter durum area to 239,000 hectares from 225,000 hectares. Both area estimates would now be virtually stable on last year.
The ministry also raised its estimate of the 2020, winter rapeseed area to 1.08 million hectares, up from 1.05 million hectares seen in December and down 2.1pc from 2019.
Heavy rain has disrupted autumn sowing of wheat and barley in France, leading analysts to anticipate a sharp fall in the crop area.
The ministry warned of potential revision to its forecasts.
Estimates are fragile at this stage of the campaign, as sowing carried out in particularly wet conditions may lead to substitutions in the spring," it said.
In revisions to 2019 crop production, the ministry lifted its estimate of sugar beet production to 37.75 million tonnes from 37.32 million tonnes seen last month, now down 5.4pc from 2018.
It also added 112,000 tonnes to its 2019 soft wheat crop estimate now estimated at 39.58 million tonnes.
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