French Farmers Plant Most Wheat On Record
France’s farmers have seeded more land with wheat this year than at any time since 1955.
French growers increased their planting of soft wheat, used to make bread flour, by 3.4 per cent, to 5.18 million hectares (12.8 million acres), the agriculture ministry recently reported. That’s the most in 60 years, Eurostat data shows.
Paris-traded wheat futures have risen 27 per cent from a September low, compared with a 17-per-cent increase for rapeseed, making the grain more attractive for farmers to plant. Wheat is France’s biggest crop, covering 18 per cent of farmland in 2014.
“Growers have been disappointed by corn and rapeseed prices,” said Leopold Michallet, a consultant at Paris-based farm adviser Agritel. “Wheats are really looking great. Absent any weather setback, we’re headed for a very good harvest.”
About 91 per cent of France’s soft wheat was rated in good or very good condition as of 30 March, crop office FranceAgriMer recently reported. That compares with 76 per cent a year ago.
If conditions remain favourable, French farmers could reap more than the record soft-wheat crop gathered in 1998, said François Luguenot, head of market analysis at InVivo, the largest exporter of French grain. The country produced 38.2 million tonnes of the grain that year, Eurostat data shows.
Bloomberg News, edited by ESM