PARIS: France should harvest between 38 and 39 million tonnes of soft wheat this summer with quality levels meeting export standards, Soufflet, one of the country's largest grain exporters, said on Friday.

The wheat harvest is in full swing in France, the European Union's largest producer. Results are showing good yields despite a record-breaking heatwave that caused mainly local damage, prompting producers to raise their output estimates.

Market estimates for the French 2019 soft wheat crop was at around 38 million tonnes about a week ago. The farm ministry forecast 37 million tonnes early this month.

France harvested 34 million tonnes of soft wheat last year.

“Yields are good to very good," Francois Berson, head of grain procurement, said in a video posted on Soufflet's Youtube account.

“It won't be as high as 2015 but as of today we estimate the French (wheat) output at between 38 and 39 million tonnes, knowing that there is still 20% to 25% of the wheat to be harvested by the end of the week or early next," he said.

Soufflet's average protein content stood at 11.5%, a level that will pose no problem on the export market, he said.

The family-owned group said earlier this month that protein content was rising as the harvest was progressing north.

Overseas milling wheat importers usually require a minimum of 11% protein content.

In contrast the protein level of the spring barley crop was poor this year, at an average of 9.7%, above market specifications, but with some results as low as 8%, Berson said.

Berson also referred to a sharp drop in France's rapeseed crop this year, which he pegged at 30% to 40%, due mainly to a fall in area as a result of adverse weather.

The French farm ministry earlier this month estimated the fall in France's rapeseed output at 27% to 3.6 million tonnes.

Copyright Reuters, 2019