France’s Axereal Sees Lower-Than-Usual Protein in Centre Wheat

Axereal, a French agriculture cooperative in the Centre region south of Paris, said protein content is lower than usual for soft wheat harvested this year in the country’s biggest growing area.

The group’s soft wheat has an average protein content “slightly lower” than the usual 11 percent to 11.5 percent, Commercial Director Gilles Girault wrote in an e-mailed response to questions today. The crop is more than 90 percent harvested, he said.

Algeria, France’s biggest export client, typically seeks a protein content of at least 11 percent for its imports of soft wheat and Egypt, the leading global buyer of the cereal, demands 11.5 percent, according to Dijon Cereales, a grain cooperative. France is the 27-nation European Union’s largest wheat grower.

“Thanks to sorting at the reception of the wheat, we’ve put aside the wheat with the lowest levels of protein,” Girault said. “Therefore, we’ll have 80 percent with an average protein level above 11 percent.”

In addition to Centre, Axereal operates in the Nievre department to the region’s east and parts of the Ile-de-France area to the north. Centre typically grows 14 percent of France’s soft wheat, data from crop office FranceAgriMer show.

The cooperative gathers 4.5 million metric tons of grains and oilseeds annually, of which about half is soft wheat, Girault said. Axereal generally sells 65 percent to 70 percent of its wheat to the milling industry, according to the director.

“We’ll therefore have enough wheat in our region to supply those outlets in the 2013-14 season,” Girault said.

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