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French wheat shows mixed protein levels, good test weights -survey

PARIS, Aug 18 (Reuters) - This year's French soft wheat harvest was showing mixed protein scores and good results for test weights and Hagberg falling numbers, according to preliminary quality results published by farm office FranceAgriMer on Thursday.

Crop quality in France, the European Union's biggest wheat exporter, is being closely watched as importers seek alternatives to Ukrainian and Russian supplies that have been disrupted by war.

For protein, among key requirements for milling, 33% of soft wheat analysed so far was showing 11-11.5% content, 23% was at 11.5-12% and another 20% at 12% and above, the survey conducted by FranceAgriMer with crop institute Arvalis showed.

However, 24% of the crop came in below 11% protein, often a minimum standard for milling markets.

In an initial assessment of harvest quality last week, FranceAgriMer and Arvalis said protein readings were varied in key northern production zones.

The partial results for protein content covered 76% of expected samples nationwide, but only 32% in the Hauts de France in the far north.

Last year, just 5% of the soft wheat crop showed protein below 11%.

For test weights, however, results so far suggested better levels than last year when summer rain affected the criteria.

Some 85% of the crop analysed so far was above the 76 kilo per hectolitre level widely used as a milling standard, compared with just 31% in last year's harvest.

For Hagberg falling numbers, 96% of the crop volumes assessed so far were showing readings above 240 seconds, against just over half last year.

FranceAgriMer is due to update its quality results in the coming weeks.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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