Hard Red Winter (US Wheat Associates 2017 Crop Quality Report)

By : US Wheat Associates

Hard Red Winter wheat is Medium to high protein, medium hard endosperm, red bran, medium gluten content, mellow gluten. Used in pan breads, Asian noodles, hearth breads, hard rolls, flatbreads, croissants and general-purpuse flour.

This data from 492 samples, collected from grain elevators in 44 reporting areas when at least 30% of the local harvest was complete.

USDA/ARS Hard Winter Wheat Quality Lab, Manhattan, KS, and Plain Grains, Inc, Collected samples and conducted quality analyses.

Weather and Harvest
Planted area for the 2017 hard red winter (HRW) crop fell to the lowest level in over 100 years, pressured by the poor income potential from wheat. The 2017 HRW production, estimated at 20.4 million metric tons (MMT), is down from 29.4 MMT in 2016 and well below 5-year average. Large beginning stocks partially offset the sharp production decline. USDA estimated the HRW supply (excluding imports) at 36.5 MMT, down 13% from 2016. Variable conditions challenged the crop, but moisture remained adequate, or even excessive in some areas, resulting generally in better than expected yields, lower than average protein, but otherwise good milling and processing characteristics.
Hard Red Winter Production
In the Southern and Central Plains, a warmer than normal winter favored diseases and insect pests. An unusually late 20-inch snowfall caused significant lodging in western Kansas, eastern Colorado and parts of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Higher disease and insect pressure followed and reduced yield potential. Late season rain benefited Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska, but was too late for Texas and Oklahoma.

The start of winter was mild and dry across the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Northern Plains, but February through April was extremely wet with erratic temperatures. A hot, dry late spring caused inconsistent crop development. Eastern Montana, South Dakota and western North Dakota suffered severe drought conditions with devastating effects in yield.

Wheat and Grade Data
Overall kernel characteristics are outstanding in the 2017 crop, although protein levels were lower than average. Despite the challenging growing conditions, overall 92% of Composite, 86% of Gulf-Tributary and 100% of PNW-Tributary samples graded US No. 2 or better. Test weight averages 60.5 lb/bu (79.6 kg/hl), above the 5-year average of 29.1 g. The average wheat falling number is 378 sec, below 2016 and the 5-year average, but still indicative of sound wheat.
Hard Red Winter; Midwest and PNW Harvest Data

The average protein of 11.4% (12% mb) is similar to last year, but significantly lower than the 5-year average. Protein content distribution varies by growing region. Approximately 56% of the samples tested were less than 11.5% protein, 28% between 11.5% to 12.5% and 16% greater than 12.5%

Test weight, Hectoliter Weight, Wheat Moisture, Protein (12% MB), 1000 Kernel Weight and Falling Number Hard Red Winter Data
Flour and Baking Data
The Buhler laboratory mill flour yield average is 78.1%, above the 2016 average of 76.6% and the 5-year average of 75.2%. However flour ash od 0.64% (14% mb) is also higher than 2016’s 0.56% and the 5-year average. Gluten index values average 93%, equal to both last year and the 5-year average. The W value of 199 (10-4 J) is slightly lower than last year’s average and well below the 5-year average. Average bake absorption is 62.8%, similar to 2016 and the 5-year average. Farinograph development and stability times are 4.5 min and 6.1 min, respectively, compared to last year’s respective times of 4.0 min and 6.7 min and significantly lower than the 5-year averages. Loaf volume averages 806 cc, below 2016 and the 5-year average, but still indicative of good baking quality.

Farinograms, Alveograms, extensograms Graphs

The quality of the 2017 HRW crop is very similar to the 2016 crop. Generally, the 2017 crop was planted and developed in a favorable environment until late in the growing season, with abundant moisture and no heat stress in the Central and Southern Plains. The lack of heat stress and relatively high yields resulted in lower quantities of wheat and flour protein, but the crop exhibits very good milling characteristics. The loaf volumes achieved indicate there is adequate protein quality to make good quality bread even though mix times are shorter than the 5-year averages. This crop meets or exceeds typical HRW contract specifications and should provide high value to customers.

California Harvest Survey

159 samples Collected from grain elevators during local harvest.

California Wheat Commission Laboratory and Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) conducted test and analyses.

Official grade and non-grade factors and functionality tests were determined on each sample. Results are weighted averages. The methods are described in the Analysis Methods section of this blog.

California’s wheat growing regions are defined by climate, value of alternative crops and distinct differencs in variety selection. Most California hard wheat is planted from October to January and harvested in June and July. With the strong demand for new crop wheat in the domestic marketplace, importers are encouraged to express their interest in purchasing California wheat in early spring.

Weather and Harvest
After several years of drought, California received higher than average rainfall in 2017, and flooding was widespread in the Sacramento Valley growing area. Despite conditions favorable for stripe rust, most varieties have resistance, and there was little impact on yield or quality. Increased rainfall resulted in a larger than normal share of the crop having low protein content.

California hard wheat varieties are known for their low moisture and large and uniform kernel size. Because wheat is predominantly grown under irrigation, growers achieve high yields and consistent quality. Overall, the 2017 crop has medium to high protein, though with an increased share of low protein. Consistent with other years, the 2017 crop has low moisture, high flour extraction and strong baking performance - all of which make California wheat suitable for blending.

Export Cargo Survey

Hard Red Winter; California and Export Data

The export cargo data represent 453 sublot samples provided by USDA's Federal Grain Inspection Service for crop years 2017 and 2016. Of 97 2017-crop samples collected in July and August, 43 are from gluf and 116 from PNW ports. Grade data are the official grades on the individual sublots. Great Plains Analytical Laboratory conducted the milling and baking analyses.
HRW Grade Distributions (Values in parentheses denote protein level)

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