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PARIS: Warm weather has helped European Union farmers make progress in sowing grains for next year’s harvest, with the area devoted to wheat and winter barley expected to be similar to this year, but rapeseed perhaps a little lower, analysts said.

Dry conditions, however, remain a risk to planting and crop development, particularly in Spain, Romania and Bulgaria, while new biodiversity requirements for EU subsidies may also sway farmers’ crop decisions.

In France, the EU’s biggest crop producer, a warm spell marked by record temperatures for October has helped field work. “Sowing conditions are really good. We’re lucky to have this mild, dry weather to carry out seeding,” said Benoit Pietrement, a farmer and head of the grains committee at farming agency FranceAgriMer.

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