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French rapeseed area set to stay high in 2024 -institute

French farmers are expected to allocate a similar or bigger area to rapeseed for the 2024 harvest, maintaining sowings at an above-average level after a sharp increase this year, oilseed technical institute Terre Ionia said on Thursday.

Rapeseed is the main oilseed crop grown in the European Union, providing oil for food and biofuel and meal for livestock. France is the bloc’s biggest rapeseed producer along with Germany.

French farmers, who have just completed rapeseed sowing, could increase the area by up to 5%, Terres Inovia’s Afsaneh Lellahi told Reuters by telephone, citing seed orders by farmers and generally favourable field conditions.

Farmers harvested 1.34 million hectares of rapeseed in this year’s harvest, 9% more than in 2022 and nearly 11% above the average of the past five years, according to the agriculture ministry.

Growers stepped up rapeseed planting a year ago, encouraged by record prices fuelled by Russia’s invasion of major oilseed exporter Ukraine.

Prices remained attractive for farmers, despite falling back sharply in the past year, while production results were satisfactory even if final yields in this year’s harvest were lower than expected , Lellahi said.

Summer rain had provided sufficient moisture to allow rapeseed to be drilled in the optimal timeframe and a heatwave this week was not expected to hurt emerging crops, she said.

Harvesting of sunflower seed, France’s next-largest oilseed crop, was under way in southern zones and initial yields were good, Lellahi added.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gus Trompiz, Editing by David Goodman and Chizu Nomiyama)

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