Last update: Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01pm

French soft wheat area to edge down

In its first sowing estimates for the 2014 harvest, the French farm ministry on Monday put the area sown with soft wheat at 4.9 million hectares, down 1.3 pct on year but in line with the average of the past five years. The durum wheat area was seen falling much more sharply, down 9.9 percent to 289,000 hectares, as a modest price premium compared to soft wheat continued to deter farmers from growing the wheat variety used to make pasta, the ministry said.

After France lost 100,000 hectares in the durum area sown for the 2013 harvest, the latest drop would bring sowings down to their lowest level since the turn of the century, it said.

For winter barley, the area was estimated 0.9 percent higher at 1.1 million hectares. In oilseeds, the ministry pegged the rapeseed area at 1.5 million hectares, up 6.8 pct on 2013 in a rebound from a difficult sowing campaign last year.

Copyright Reuters, 2013