May 6, 2004


France 2004-05 Soft Wheat Area Revised Up; Corn Area Up


The French state grains board, Office National Interprofessionnel des Cereales, or ONIC, Wednesday raised its estimate of domestic 2004-05 soft wheat plantings and said for the first time that corn plantings for 2004-05 are up from the previous year.


ONIC estimated the French 2004-05 soft wheat area at 4.907 million hectares, 7.52% more than for the 2003-04 crop. Only three weeks ago, ONIC had estimated the year-to-year rise at 7.46%.


An official said the new figure takes into account additional data on spring wheat, which comprises only a small part of total French wheat plantings. Most French wheat is winter wheat.


In its first French corn planting data for 2004-05, ONIC estimated the area at 1.709 million hectares, up 3.67% from the 2003-04 crop's area.


It also estimated for the first time the combined French winter and spring barley area for 2004-05 at 1.662 million hectares, down 5.01% from the 2003-04 crop. Previously, the agency had only given data for winter barley.


Its latest estimate of the area for winter barley was 1.080 million hectares, up 4.2% on the year, while it put the area for spring barley at 582,000 hectares, down 18.4%. on the year.


Plantings of spring barley can fluctuate greatly from year to year, depending on planting conditions for crops that normally are sown before the winter. The big drop in spring barley plantings this year coincides with a return to more normal winter crop panting conditions for 2004-05, after poor conditions impeded the planting of winter crops for 2003-04.