France produces a wide range of crops: wheat, durum wheat, corn, barley, triticale, oats, sorghum, rye and rice.
The French crop production is about 70 million tons per year, including 35 million tons of wheat.
Wheat (including durum) and barley are the main grains exported.
Wheat is produced in most French areas thanks to their excellent climatic conditions and geological characteristics. A guide published each year by FranceAgriMer and ARVALIS – Institut du vegetal describes the quality of the French varieties according to the area of production. French wheat is mainly winter wheat, sown in October and harvested in July / August. Wheat production is about 35 million tons with a national average yield of 7 tons per hectare. In general, French wheat quality is classified between medium-soft and medium-hard. The high quality bread-making wheat is medium-hard wheat with high milling and bakery quality. It is suitable for traditional and industrial manufacture of many breads (“baguette”, European breads, flat breads, steam breads…), pastries and Asian noodles. The standard is medium-soft wheat with intermediate protein and gluten content. It is well adapted to make French type bread. It is the basic wheat for all types of breads and Asian noodles. The wheat for biscuit and pastry making has a low percent of protein. It gives flours with low hydration capacity. On the other hand, the feed wheat has a good food value which is characterized by high and regular energy content. Feed wheat serves to feed a number of different animals (poultries, pigs, sheep, and cattle).
Durum wheat is grown in four geographical areas: Traditional areas: Southwest and Southeast of France Non traditional areas: Central and the western seacoast. Durum wheat covers more than 400 000 hectares in France. Its production reaches 2 million tons. The national average yield is about 5 tons per hectare. A quarter of the French production is consumed by the French semolina manufacturers. The French domestic consumption adds up to 500 000 tons. The three-quarters remainders are intended for exports. The main destinations for the French durum are Italy and North Africa, particularly Algeria. Besides, French durum wheat quality is famous particularly in term of protein content, which reaches about 15 %. In addition, the high level of yellow index on a great number of varieties represents a key point of the French durum quality as well.