Wheat sowings advance in western Europe; area may expand

October 23, 2013

Wheat sowings
Wheat sowings

Wheat sowings in western Europe are progressing well with a modest rise in area expected in top producer France and a more significant increase in Britain where saturated soils forced many farmers to switch to spring crops a year ago. “All the feedback we’ve had suggests that things are going well,” Pierre-Antoine Allard of grains consultancy Agritel said of the situation in France.

“More than half of the sowings should be done by now.” Agritel estimates that wheat sowings in France will rise by around 2 to 3 percent compared with last year, benefiting from a sharp fall in rapeseed and a further decline for durum. Mild temperatures this month had also helped wheat plants emerge rapidly, Allard added.

Showers have halted fieldwork in some far northern areas of France this week and also in Britain. Jack Watts, senior analyst with Britain’s Home-Grown Cereals Authority, said rains had slowed sowings this week but there was no major cause for concern. “There is still an expectation that we will see a return to a more normal cropping pattern,” he said, adding wheat area could return to around 2 million hectares.

Wheat area fell for this year’s harvest to just 1.63 million hectares, down around 18 percent from the prior season’s 1.99 million as wet autumn conditions forced many farmers to switch to growing spring barley. “Crop emergence has been good, establishment has been good. There are no major concerns,” Watts said. In the EU’s second-largest wheat producer Germany, wheat sowing is approaching its final stages but work was delayed by about one to one-and-a-half weeks because of the late finish to harvesting this summer.

Sowing in parts of the key north German export grain belt is complete but work is still continuing in other parts of the country, analysts said. “I think we may need another week to finish depending on the weather,” one analyst said. “I do not think the delay is a cause for concern but the size of the total sown area may depend on weather in the next week.” “If we get a lot of rain we could see a reduction. Otherwise I would expect an area similar to last year’s.” Widespread rain is forecast in Germany on Wednesday but the rest of the week to Friday is expected to be mainly dry. Courtesy Reuters

World Agriculture News,

Published in ZaraiMedia.com

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