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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit or contact your state wheat commission. Original articles from Wheat Letter may be reprinted without permission; source attribution is requested. Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe to Wheat Letter.

In This Issue:
1. Strong Durum, HRS Sales Push Past Price
2. Wheat Harvest Rolls On
3. Celebrating Sixty Years of Food for Peace Success
4. Back-to-Back Trade Teams from Taiwan, South Korea Examine U.S. Wheat Crop
5. Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann Joins USW
6. Wheat Industry News

Online Edition: Wheat Letter – July 10, 2014 (

PDF Edition: (See attached file: Wheat Letter - July 10, 2014.pdf)

USW Harvest Report:

1. Strong Durum, HRS Sales Push Past Price
By USW Market Analyst Casey Chumrau

Strong demand supported prices for hard red spring (HRS) and durum export sales for the first month of the 2014/15 marketing year. Both classes are greatly outpacing last year’s sales at this time despite increased export prices.

Export sales of durum, generally the most expensive U.S. wheat class, have fluctuated greatly in recent years. In 2013/14, sales were limited by high prices relative to Canada and significant logistics issues in the northern U.S. plains. But, the U.S. railroad situation improved with the spring weather just as serious concerns arose about the Italian durum crop quality. Low yields and substantial rain just before harvest in Italy resulted in a demand spike for U.S. durum and export prices responded with a $30 per metric ton (MT) jump between the beginning of June and July.

Despite the higher price, durum sales as of June 29 are 65 percent ahead of last year at 190,900 metric tons (MT). Sales are still 13 percent below the five-year average on this date, but prospects look favorable for sales to continue as Canada’s logistical issues persist.

Canada’s logistical problems are also providing additional opportunities for HRS sales, with recent strong nearby demand for high-protein spring wheat. In a normal year, buyers might meet demand with a combination of Canadian and U.S. wheat. With Canada unable to meet new nearby business, U.S. wheat sales have increased. HRS sales surged 62 percent higher than both the prior year’s pace and the five-year average to date. As of June 29, the United States had sold 2.78 MMT of HRS, the most by that date in more than 10 years.

The spike in HRS sales comes despite steady prices defying the recent downward price trend for grains in general. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) HRS September futures contract lost 6 percent of its value between June 6 and July 3, but higher basis levels mostly offset the decline. The strong demand and dwindling old-crop supply means supplies have to go farther inland to source wheat from farmers, adding transportation costs to the export price. In that same June 6 to July 3 time period, HRS FOB from the U.S. Gulf added 1 percent to its value from $329 to $332 per MT and FOB from the PNW is down just 2 percent from $320 to $313 per MT.

While price is just one of the many factors that determine value, the strong early sales pace of HRS and durum prove once again that the United States is able to meet regular demand and fulfill any needs left unmet by other exporters. Furthermore, for those buyers who need high quality wheat, the United States remains their premier choice.

2. Wheat Harvest Rolls On

Combines are rolling – where they are not delayed by rain – and winter wheat harvest is more than halfway complete, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Progress Report issued July 7. NASS reported 57 percent of winter wheat as harvested, only slightly behind the five-year average, in the 18 states that harvest 86 percent of winter wheat. Additionally, NASS listed winter wheat conditions as of July 7 at 22 percent very poor, 25 percent fair, 26 percent good and 1 percent excellent.

A more detailed look at class and regional breakdowns, however, demonstrates the geographic diversity that allows U.S. wheat farmers to consistently produce the world’s most reliable supply of high quality wheat – even as one growing area or another endures the continual challenges of Mother Nature.

The southern hard red winter (HRW) states are quickly approaching the end of wheat harvest, with NASS reporting Texas at 85 percent complete, Oklahoma 95 percent complete and Kansas 70 percent complete as of July 7. NASS also reported 81 percent of winter wheat harvest complete in California.

USW reported in the July 3 Harvest Report that extensive precipitation has continued to delay HRW harvest in southwest Colorado, southwest Nebraska and northwest Kansas. Chris Kirby, marketing and communications director for the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, reported, “Producers are hopeful they can be finished by the end of this week if they can just get a few more days of harvest without rain.”

With the additional moisture, potential test weight values have fallen, but protein continues to average 14 percent. Furthermore, the daily Kanas Wheat Harvest Report has regularly noted that yields have been highly variable.

For the southeastern soft red winter (SRW) states reaching into the East Coast, the July 3 USW Harvest Report noted that SRW harvest is nearly complete on the East Coast and southern states, although storms and Hurricane Arthur caused delays.

USW Secretary-Treasurer Jason Scott, who farms near Stevensville, MD, reports that SRW harvest on the Eastern Shore also saw rain delays. He reports very good overall quality, yields and test weight. NASS reported 63 percent of winter wheat harvest in Maryland was complete as of July 7.

Harvest is just getting into full swing in other Midwestern states.

Nebraska’s winter wheat harvest was 13 percent complete as of July 7, well behind the five-year average of 26 percent, according to NASS. Caroline Brauer, ag promotion coordinator for the Nebraska Wheat Board, reported the southeastern Nebraska is about halfway done with harvest with the northern Panhandle not expected to start harvesting until around July 20. She also emphasized wide variability in yields, with dryland wheat ranging from 10 to 50 bushels per acre in the southeastern part of the state and yields ranging from zero to 30 bushels per acre in southwestern Nebraska. Overall, protein is averaging between 12 and 14 percent.

According to NASS, harvest of winter wheat was 22 percent complete in Colorado as of July 7. Glenda Mostek, communications and marketing director for Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, estimated wheat harvest at 25 percent complete as of July 9. Rain has delayed harvest in many areas, but harvest now extends from the far southeast of the state to the far north.

In Ohio, NASS reported growers were able to spend most of the week in the field, allowing winter wheat harvest to progress ahead of last year to 20 percent as of July 7.

Northern states will start harvest in coming weeks.

Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission Executive Director Keith Kennedy reported that the bulk of wheat harvest will not likely start until the week of July 21 due to late planting, adequate moisture and cooler than normal temperatures. With the cooperation of Mother Nature, he expects much improved yields over the past two years. The Idaho Wheat Commission also reported being two weeks away from starting winter wheat harvest.

Follow along with wheat harvest through the following reports:

USW Harvest Report:

All Aboard Wheat Harvest:

National Crop Progress Report:

3. Celebrating Sixty Years of Food for Peace Success
By USW Assistant Director of Policy Tyler Jameson

Today, July 10, marks 60 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, Public Law 480 (PL 480) into law, creating the Office of Food for Peace. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy termed the law “Food for Peace,” emphasizing, "Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want."

While the program was created to help remove surplus U.S. commodities, it has evolved into the cornerstone of U.S. foreign aid and the most successful food aid program in the world. President Eisenhower said PL 480 would “lay the basis for a permanent expansion of our exports of agricultural products with lasting benefits to ourselves and people of other lands.”

Food for Peace, now administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has assisted more than three billion people in 150 countries ranging from Japan to Germany to Ethiopia to Haiti. Today, Food for Peace supports emergency and development programs in 44 countries.

Since January 2009, more than 3.0 MMT of U.S. wheat has been donated as both emergency and non-emergency food aid through Food for Peace. Most recently, Bangladesh is set to receive 880 MT of soft white (SW) wheat and another 9,720 metric tons of HRW will arrive soon in the West Bank and Gaza.

U.S. farmers, especially wheat producers, strongly support the Food for Peace program as an effective tool for alleviating poverty. Not only does the program utilize high-quality, nutritious U.S. products, but also recipient countries often become commercial customers as economies develop, as seen in Japan and the Philippines.

Yesterday, USW celebrated the program’s history and successes with special guests Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow and other distinguished guests. We have a long way to go before no person goes hungry, but U.S. wheat producers will continue to do their part in producing high-quality, nutritious wheat and supporting this important tool for fighting hunger around the world.

4. Back-to-Back Trade Teams from Taiwan, South Korea Examine U.S. Wheat Crop

As explained in last Wheat Letter, USW’s trade team efforts help build productive relationships between customers and the farmers that produce the world’s most reliable supply of high quality wheat. Two of these teams — from Taiwan and South Korea — have back-to-back visits to the United States in July.

First, four Taiwan milling executives arrived in the United States on July 6 and are making stops in North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon and California until July 15. The team is looking for firsthand information on wheat breeding, transportation and inspection as well as specific class updates in each state.

“This visit will help us demonstrate the quality of the U.S. HRS, HRW and SW wheat these millers want in order to produce flour for healthy wheat foods,” said USW Country Director Ronald Lu, who is accompanying the team. “The millers are also looking forward to learning more about U.S. hard white (HW) wheat. They currently only import Australian white wheat that is specifically positioned for use in noodle flour and they hope to encourage farmers and grain handlers in the United States to produce more HW.”

Next, five South Korean milling executives — collectively responsible for about 50 percent of South Korean wheat imports — will travel to Montana, Washington and Oregon July 12 to 19 for insight on not only current crop conditions, but also how high quality is maintained throughout the grain chain.

“Korean consumers want the best quality for their food as well as an increasing variety. As a result, flour specifications are becoming more complicated,” said Chang-Yoon Kang, USW country director based in Seoul, South Korea, who will travel with the millers. “It is very important that these millers see the current wheat crops they will buy and gain a better understanding of what the wheat chain, from the farm to the export elevator, does to ensure U.S. wheat quality.”

Both of these teams foster the connection between influential wheat buyers and the farmers that grow the wheat they purchase year in and year out. With the assistance of state wheat commissions and educational partners, as well as funding from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, USW organizes about 10 of these teams each year to build trust and maintain confidence in the U.S. wheat production and marketing system.

5. Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann Joins USW

USW hired Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann to serve in a new position as programs and planning assistant in the organization’s Arlington, VA, headquarters office effective June 30, 2014. Bryant-Erdmann will help USW prepare its annual application for federal export market development funding, fulfill reports required by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and support specific program activities.

“We think Stephanie’s range of experience is uniquely suited for this new position,” said Jennifer Sydney, director of programs and planning at USW. “She was raised and worked on her family’s Nebraska cattle ranch and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in agricultural education. Her work with the federal government also provided familiarity with public-private export programs, so we are very pleased she accepted the job.”

As part of her master’s program at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs, Bryant-Erdmann worked with a creamery in Kenya, which led to her thesis on the economic feasibility of exporting Kenyan cheese products to the United Arab Emirates. At the same time, she was working as an intern at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Information Center where she helped create materials used to educate U.S. organizations looking to grow by exporting products and services. Most recently, Bryant-Erdmann was supporting family needs and working at First National Bank of Omaha.

6. Wheat Industry News
  • Idaho Wheat Commission, UI Renew Research Agreement. The Idaho Wheat Commission and University of Idaho signed a three-year renewal of a wheat research agreement that includes funding for a new wheat molecular geneticist and additional investments in equipment for the program. For more information, visit
  • U.S. Senate Confirms Vetter as Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Darci Vetter was confirmed as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Prior to this position, Vetter served as Deputy Under Secretary in the office of the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. For more information, visit
  • Bayer Invests in RTP Expansion. Bayer CropScience will invest $29.6 million in expanding tis North American and global seeds headquarters in Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC, including a 29,500 square foot greenhouse and a new facility for seed trait research. For more information, visit
  • Monsanto Revamps WestBred Distribution. Monsanto has altered its WestBred wheat seed distribution model for a more service-based approach. Changes will include additional availability of technical knowledge, additional field experts, better inventory management and other improvements. For more information, visit
  • WMC Whole Grain Products Short Course. The Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, OR, will hold its Whole Grain Products Short Course July 28 to Aug. 1, 2014. For more information or to register, visit
  • IGP Milling Courses. The International Grains Program in Manhattan, KS, will have its Buhler-KSU Executive Milling Course in Spanish Aug. 11 to 15, 2014. For more information or to register, visit
  • NCI Grain Procurement Management for Importers Course. The Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, ND will hold its Grain Procurement Management for Importers short course Sept. 15 to 24, 2014. For more information or to register, visit
  • Congratulations to Stacy Taylor, USW executive assistant and meeting planner, on her 25th anniversary working for USW. Thank you for your service!
  • Welcome to Michelle Hennings, newly appointed executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers. Hennings has served as the director of finance and administration for the organization for the last nine years. For more information, visit
  • Thank you and farewell to Glenda Mostek, communications and marketing director with the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, who is leaving her position on July 18. Good luck in all your future endeavors!

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
USW prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY - 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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