U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has published its 2023 Crop Quality Report, which includes grade, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes. The report compiles comprehensive data from the analysis of hundreds of samples conducted during and after harvest by our partner organizations and laboratories. The report provides essential, objective information to help buyers get the wheat they need at the best value possible.

In this short video, USW Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley talks about the 2023 report, while Director of Programs Catherine Miller discusses the USW Crop Quality Seminars scheduled around the world in coming weeks . . .


The 2023 U.S. wheat harvest has ended and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) published its final weekly Harvest Report Oct. 6. This year’s first Harvest Report appeared May 19 and was published every Friday afternoon (Eastern Time) throughout the season with updates and comments on harvest progress, crop conditions for hard red winter (HRW), soft red winter (SRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and northern durum wheat.

#1 HAD

U.S. hard amber durum kernels.The final northern durum weekly report showed that compared to the prior week, wheat moisture increased to 11.4%, falling number increased to 416 sec and HVAC decreased from 81% to 80%. Compared to 2022, protein content, 1000-kernel weight, and percent damaged kernels were higher while falling number, test weight and shrunken and broken kernels were lower. The overall grade remained U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD).

The Durum wheat Quality & Pasta Processing Laboratory at North Dakota State University is completing testing on the composites for the full northern durum regional crop quality report and USW’s 2023 Crop Quality Report.

Important Resource

Harvest Report is a key component of USW’s international technical and marketing programs as a resource that helps customers understand how the crop situation may affect basis values and export prices. USW’s overseas offices share the report with their market contacts and use it as a key resource in meetings and for answering inquiries. Several USW offices publish the report in the local language.

Anyone may subscribe to receive the Harvest Report directly to their email inbox by filling out a quick form found at this link.

The accumulated quality data gathered during the season and reported in Harvest Report builds to the annual USW Crop Quality Report coming soon. USW thanks the many partner organizations who support this work and Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley for managing these important reports.


Building a kernel photo library with new and updated images from each of the six classes of U.S. wheat requires the single steady hand of a skilled photographer.

And hundreds of hands of support from everyone else.

The wheat kernel photo library project, which U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) began planning earlier this year, took a major leap forward in June, when the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University hosted a photo crew from Middle, USW’s creative agency in Manhattan, Kansas. Over two days, a Middle photographer captured images of a dozen different varieties of U.S. wheat – the six classes and several subclasses – from fields across the country.

Therein lies the referenced “hundreds of hands of support” – wheat kernels photographed for the USW project were sent to the NDSU campus in boxes and buckets from Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and, of course, North Dakota.

Clair Keene, an Assistant Professor and Agronomist at North Dakota State University, and North Dakota Wheat Commission Policy and Marketing Director Jim Peterson watch as a photographer captures images as part of the kernel photography project.

Clair Keene, an Assistant Professor and Agronomist at North Dakota State University, and North Dakota Wheat Commission Policy and Marketing Director Jim Peterson watch as a photographer captures images as part of the photography project. NDSU hosted the photo shoot to build the new library of wheat kernel images.

Photos in the wheat kernel photo library project include magnified up-close shots of individual kernels, as well as cross-cut shots that show an internal view of the kernel. There are photos of small piles of the grains that depict uniformity and color.

The library is still “under construction,” but once it is complete, photos will be used across USW departments for a variety of projects. Having access to clear and accurate kernel images allows USW to educate and inform both internal and external audiences, explained USW Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley.

“There are many important uses for these images – everything from our Crop Quality programs to presentations our staff and partners give around the world to buyers and potential buyers of U.S. wheat,” explained Oakley. “We really appreciate the people at North Dakota State University for hosting this project, and we must thank producers and state wheat associations for sharing samples of their wheat to photograph. It’s a worthwhile project that will benefit us all.”


USW Vice Chair Michael Peter( left) with Sen. Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoman (center) and Yi-Cheun "Tony" Shu, chair of the TFMA, after the Letter of Intent signing at the U.S. Capitol.

USW Vice Chair Michael Peters ( left) with Sen. Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma (center) and Yi-Cheun “Tony” Shu, chair of the TFMA, after the Letter of Intent signing at the U.S. Capitol.

Representatives from the Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) signed a Letter of Intent September 14, 2022,  with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) to purchase 1.9 million metric tons – about 69.8 million bushels – of wheat from the U.S. over the next two years, a commitment with an estimated value of $576 million.

The signing, held at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., was a much-anticipated stop for the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission, a team made up of Taiwanese government officials and representatives of some of the largest importers of U.S. grains. The group is led by Yi-Cheun “Tony” Shu, chair of the TFMA and of Formosa Oilseed Processing Co. Also participating is Dr. Ching-Cheng Huang, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture.

Taiwan is the 6th largest U.S. wheat export market and the 7th largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural products. Along with its intent to purchase U.S. wheat in 2023 and 2024, the team also signed Letters of Intent with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the U.S. Grains Council (USG) to purchase soybeans and corn. The total estimated commitment in the three letters total $3.2 billion.

Michael Peters, USW Vice Chairman, signed the TFMA Letter of Intent on behalf of the U.S. wheat industry.

“American farmers place great value on the relationship between U.S. agriculture and Taiwan,” Peters, a wheat producer and cattle rancher from Okarche, Oklahoma, said during the signing ceremony. “We pride ourselves as being dependable partners who grow the highest quality agriculture products in the world. The TFMA and its members have been great trading partners who fully recognize the value of purchasing U.S. wheat.”

Among U.S. officials on hand were Senators Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Representative Steven Chabot, R-Ohio, co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, was also present to witness the signing.

Following the visit to Washington, D.C., flour millers on the Mission headed west to get a first-hand look at U.S. wheat production and meet the people responsible for supplying high-quality wheat to Taiwan. The team is scheduled to visit wheat farmers in Kansas, Idaho and Oregon. Other scheduled stops also include the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center and the Port of Portland in Oregon.

USW also joined USSEC, USGC, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) in hosting a reception for the Mission team on September 13. The event provided leaders of the U.S. wheat and grain industry an opportunity to catch up with members of the Taiwan Goodwill Mission, which last visited the United States in 2019.

USW President Vince Peterson addresses those gathered for a reception welcoming the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission

USW President Vince Peterson addresses those gathered for a reception welcoming the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission

USW President Vince Peterson addressed the gathering by pointing out the long and beneficial history of cooperation between Taiwan’s flour milling industry and the U.S. wheat industry that first opened a promotional office in Taipei 56 years ago.

“Our legacy organization Western Wheat Associates established a presence in Taiwan in 1966, so we are going on six decades of working with the country’s flour millers and food industry,” Peterson said. “In that time, Taiwan has purchased more than 45 million metric tons of U.S. wheat. This partnership between TFMA, U.S. Wheat Associates and U.S. wheat producers has been on a great path, and we plan to continue on that path in the future. We truly thank the Taiwan Goodwill Mission for coming to the United States and for its ongoing preference for U.S. wheat and other agricultural products.”


By Erica Oakley, USW Director of Programs

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the U.S. wheat industry in Japan. On Nov. 14, 2019, the Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, held a “Friends of Oregon” reception where our friend and recently retired colleague, Mr. Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya was recognized for his long-term contribution to wheat trade between Oregon and Japan. Charlie’s relationship with Oregon began 40 years ago and included living in the state for more than a decade. The Governor thanked Charlie for “his extraordinary service to wheat growers and to Oregonians” and acknowledged the ties “between the U.S. and Japan around wheat that he [Charlie] has built and maintained.” With more than 100 in attendance at the reception, the strong relationship between Japan and Oregon and Charlie’s contribution to that relationship was palpable and heartwarming.


Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya accepts the “Friends of Oregon” award from Governor Kate Brown.

Charlie with Governor Kate Brown, friends and staff from USW, the Governor’s office, Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Japanese milling industry.

The reception was fortuitously timed as days later the USW Tokyo Office, now led by Mr. Kazunori “Rick” Nakano, held their annual Crop Quality (CQ) seminar on Nov. 18 and the Japan Buyers Conference on Nov. 19. This year’s CQ seminar had more than 140 in attendance – a record for the annual seminar held in Tokyo.

As the Japan Buyers Conference took place on Tuesday, the Lower House of Japan’s legislative body was passing the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, which moves U.S. wheat growers one step closer to the same preferential advantage as Canada and Australia. The flour millers that attended the conference in Tokyo represented more than 80% of the 2.78 million metric tons (MMT) of total 2018/19 commercial wheat sales to Japan reported by USDA as of May 31, 2019. There were 22 U.S. representatives, including 11 farmers and state wheat commission representatives from five states.

The conference focus differed slightly between the morning and afternoon sessions, with the morning audience largely comprised of milling personnel. Mike Spier, USW Vice President of Overseas Operations, kicked off the morning with welcome remarks. Drs. Michael Pumphrey of Washington State University and Senay Simsek of North Dakota State University both emphasized the focus on quality. Pumphrey discussed quality-first breeding techniques in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Simsek focused on the growing trend for clean labels and how can traits in most desirable varieties can provide the quality characteristics needed to forego additives. Bon Lee of the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) rounded out the morning by highlighting WMC’s programmatic efforts and services for Asian customers.

Bill Flory, Idaho wheat farmer and commissioner, and Bon Lee, Wheat Marketing Center, at the 2019 USW Japan Buyers Conference. Photo courtesy of Idaho Wheat Commission.

The afternoon session shifted to a broader audience with Zeke Spears, Agricultural Attaché USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, providing opening remarks. Doug Goyings, USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Paulding, Ohio, thanked the attendees for their long-standing relationship and shared the history and pictures of his family operation. Dr. Bill Wilson, North Dakota State University, discussed dynamic changes in the wheat marketing system, including changing consumer demands, logistics and technology, as well as increased risk and overall industrial changes. Greg Guthrie, BNSF Railway, provided an overview of BNSF’s efforts to meet demand and how technological advancement will benefit the Japanese wheat supply chain. Steve Wirsching, USW Vice President and West Coast Office Director, brought the conference full circle highlighting the superior value of U.S. wheat and efforts to ensure our Japanese customers receive the quality wheat they deserve.

2019 USW Japan Buyers Conference. Photo courtesy of Idaho Wheat Commission.

The day ended with a reception at the Palace Hotel with remarks from Goyings; Mr. Makoto Osawa, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Vice-Minister for International Affairs; Mr. Gary Meyer, U.S. Embassy Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs; and Mr. Yoshihisa Fujita, Japan Flour Millers Association. The reception rounded out a very welcome and successful conference.

Header Photo Caption: Doug Goyings, USW Chairman, welcomes the Japan Buyers Conference attendees.


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

This week, two U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) colleagues and I joined the Wheat Quality Council (WQC) on its 62nd annual “Hard Winter Wheat” Tour for an early survey of the 2019/20 hard red winter (HRW) crop in Kansas and parts of surrounding states. Just a few hours before USW published this issue of “Wheat Letter,” the tour estimated a final average yield potential of 47.2 bushels per acre (bu/ac) or about 3.18 metric tons (MT) per hectare for the 2019/20 Kansas HRW crop. This year, tour participants made 469 stops to scout fields. Combining seeded area with per-acre yield potential, the total production potential estimate for Kansas was 307 million bushels or about 8.36 million metric tons (MMT). Last year’s total production estimate was 243 million bushels (6.61 MMT).

USW Market Analyst Claire Hutchins on her first Wheat Quality Council Hard Winter Wheat Tour.

Each year, industry participants from across the United States and several countries gather in Manhattan, Kan., and spend the next two and a half days in small scout teams, randomly stopping at 9 to 17 fields in a full day. Each team follows a colored route established decades ago by WQC to ensure most of Kansas and parts of southern Nebraska and Northern Oklahoma are scouted by tour participants. Teams measure yield potential, determine an average for the route and estimate a cumulative, daily tour average when all scouts come together again in the evening.

Muddy Boots. Another purpose of the tour is to help educate a broad range of stakeholders about wheat production challenges. Scouts are asked to look for disease, week and insect pressure, as well as soil conditions. Last year, tour participants enjoyed dryer, warmer weather. This year, rain and colder temperatures gave first-time scouts, like me, a true look at variable spring weather in Kansas. Our muddy boots proved that last year’s severe drought, which covered most of the state as of late April, is a distant memory. The April 23, 2019, Drought Monitor shows zero drought or abnormal dryness across the state of Kansas.

Muddy boots were common on the wet 2019 tour.

On the first day, the tour traveled from Manhattan along several routes covering most northern Kansas counties. The cumulative Day 1 average yield potential was 46.9 bu/ac, the equivalent of 3.15 MT per hectare, compared to 38.2 bu/ac (2.57 MT/hectare) in 2018. To reach that average, participants surveyed 240 fields recording a range from a low of 16 bu/ ac to a high of 96 bu/ac. We saw very short and sparse wheat that was two to four weeks behind developmentally. Fields were adequately moist to slightly dry with no standing water. Temperatures were in the mid-40s Fahrenheit (a little more than 4 degrees Celsius) which prevents disease establishment and helps yield potential. Below-average temperatures in the next few weeks could help yield potential for winter wheat, a cool-season grass.

Participants also received a report on the Nebraska and Colorado wheat crops. Nebraska estimated an average 44.0 bu/ac (2.95MT/hectare), up slightly from last year’s tour estimate. Nebraska’s 2019 production forecast is currently 47.4 million bushels (1.29 MMT), up 8% from the 2018 estimate. Colorado predicted an average of 46.5 bu/ac (3.12 MT/hectare) with total production predicted to reach 97.2 million bushels (2.64 MMT), up 39% year-over-year, if realized.

Late Planting Impact. On the second day, the tour scouts traveled on routes from Colby in northwest Kansas to south-central Wichita, making 200 stops. The number of observations was down significantly from last year due to cold, rainy weather. Scouts reported most wheat was two to four weeks behind normal development due to late planting in the fall but continued to see nearly no disease pressure due to April and early May’s cooler than average temperatures. That could push the region’s peak harvest well into June, especially if the cool temperatures persist. This year, the tour estimated Day 2 average yield at 47.6 bu/ac (3.20 MT/hectare), for a combined two-day average yield of 47.2 bu/ac (3.17 MT/hectare) across 440 stops. Last year, the combined two-day average was 36.8 bu/ac (2.47 MT/hectare) on 601 stops.

Each scout calculates their observed yield potential, then the scout car’s average is determined.

Participants also received a crop report from Oklahoma, where adequate rainfall through the growing season helped increase the 2019 average yield projection compared projections in last year’s drought. The estimated average yield in Oklahoma is 37.4 bu/ac (2.51 MT/hectare), for a total production estimate of 119 million bushels (3.24 MMT). If realized, this would be up 50% over last year’s estimate on cool, moist weather and minimal disease pressure. However, marketing conditions are difficult for farmers. Low cash prices for winter wheat are causing many Oklahoma farmers to turn their fields to pasture or replace acres planted to HRW with cotton. Abandoned HRW acres are expected to reach 8% to 10% in 2019.

USW Director of Programs Erica Oakley was among nearly 100 scouts on the 2019 tour.

The final day of the tour was shorter, with each car making 3 to 4 field stops from Wichita to Manhattan where all the data were compiled in the final report. The Day 3 estimated average yield was 46.2 bu/ac (3.11 MT/ hectare), across 29 stops.

USW Director of Programs Erica Oakley and Assistant Director of Policy Elizabeth Westendorf and I will use what we learned on the tour to help educate overseas customers about the new crop and how development delays may affect their purchase decisions. I was raised on an irrigated farm in western Colorado, so this experience helps me understand the volatility of growing conditions with dryland wheat. I want to learn more to work with traders, and I look forward to participating in WQC’s Spring Wheat Tour in July. For more information, visit the Council’s website at

Highlights and photos from the tour are posted on Facebook and Twitter using #wheattour19.


By Erica Oakley, USW Director of Programs

As a key part of its commitment to transparency, each year U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) produces an annual Crop Quality Report that includes grade, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes. The report is compiled from sample testing and analysis conducted during and after harvest by our partner laboratories. The report provides essential, objective information to help buyers get the wheat they need at the best value possible.

The 2018 USW Crop Quality Report is now available for download in English, Spanish, French and Italian, and will be available in Chinese and Arabic soon. USW also shares more detailed, regional reports for all six U.S. wheat classes on its website, as well as additional information on its sample and collection methods, solvent retention capacity (SRC) recommendations, standard deviation tables and more.

USW’s annual Crop Quality Seminars are already underway and will continue over the next month around the world. USW invites its overseas customers, including buyers, millers and processors, to these seminars led by USW staff, U.S. wheat farmers, state wheat commission staff and educational partner organizations. The seminars dive into grade factors, protein levels, flour extraction rates, dough stability, baking loaf volume, noodle color and texture and more for all six U.S. wheat classes, and are tailored to focus on the needs and trends in each regional market.

In 2018, USW is projected to host 41 seminars in 28 countries.

Customers have previously shared that they use the report throughout the year as a reference manual and to guide them through purchases and future planning. The seminars provide a first look at the overall crop and a deep dive into the data and how to use it. Customers will often use the seminars and report as educational training for new employees.

The reports and seminars have been a traditional part of USW’s strategy since 1959, growing to become its single largest marketing activity.


Each year, USW sponsors overseas customers to travel to the United States as members of a trade delegation or to attend a short course, with more than 100 customers participating each year.

In 2017, USW sponsored a total of 72 participants from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe to attend seven short courses and four workshops at the Northern Crops Institute, the IGP Institute and Wheat Marketing Center, and for the first time, at the USDA Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wooster, Ohio.

The courses provided by these institutions are instrumental in providing customers with the information needed for making future purchases by covering a range of topics to educate them on the value of U.S. wheat classes and providing exposure to the U.S. grain marketing system, the flow of grain from farm to port and the U.S. inspection system, to name a few. Through targeting bakers, millers and end-product manufacturers, USW and our partners showcase the quality of products that can be made using wheat from the United States.

Trade delegations are another way for customers to learn about U.S. wheat. This year, USW hosted a total of 12 trade delegations composed of 63 customers and 14 staff. Customers from Japan, Algeria, Morocco, Taiwan, Chile, Nigeria, South Africa, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore visited 11 states (California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington), as well as Washington D.C., and USW’s Headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Visiting wheat-producing states allows customers to directly connect with farmers, state wheat commissions and industry partners, while learning about the U.S. wheat marketing structure and transportation logistics.

Whether it is through short courses or trade delegations, the goal is the same for USW and partners: to promote the reliability, quality and value of all six U.S. wheat classes to customers around the world. Our success relies on the success of our customers and their ability to create products that appeal to consumers in markets around the globe.


By Erica Oakley, USW Director of Programs

This week, the Wheat Quality Council hosted its annual hard red spring (HRS) and durum crop tour. Participants spent three days in North Dakota surveying this year’s crop and estimating yield. The tour, which surveyed a total of 496 fields, estimated weighted average HRS yield at 38.1 bushels per acre (bu/a), significantly lower than last year’s HRS average of 45.7 bu/a because of ongoing drought conditions in western areas. The durum weighted average yield was 39.7 bu/a, down from 45.4 bu/a in 2016. Results from six HRW fields showed a weighted average of 46.6 bu/a.

Participants on the tour always represent a wide range of the wheat industry, including millers, traders, media, farmers, researchers and government officials. There were 76 participants on this tour, who traveled along eight distinct routes covering most of the state’s wheat production. I joined my USW colleague Assistant Director of Policy Elizabeth Westendorf on the tour.

It was insightful to see the conditions on the ground after reading reports about the drought. It was also interesting to see the difference in field conditions along each of the routes over all three days.

On the first day, participants drove between Fargo and Bismarck, with two routes going farther into the western part of the state, and others covering western Minnesota and northern South Dakota. Conditions on the eastern side looked good, though there was evidence of drought stress. Reports from the west included evidence of much more severe conditions. The Day 1 weighted average yield was 38.8 bu/a, down from 42.9 bu/a in 2016. For HRS specifically, the yield was 37.9 bu/a, down from 43.1 bu/a in 2016. The scouts surveyed 207 fields on Day 1, of which 194 were HRS, 10 durum and three HRW.

On Day 2, the tour surveyed 225 fields, 188 of which were HRS; along with 34 durum and 3 HRW. The group moved from Bismarck to Devils Lake. The more western routes reported drought stress, though not as severe as the scouts saw in southwestern North Dakota on Day 1. Overall average for Day 2 was 35.7 bu/a, down from 46.5 in 2016. For HRS, the yield was 35.8 bu/a, down from 46.9.

The third day of the tour included a half day of crop surveying. The participants then all returned to North Dakota State University’s Northern Crops Institute in Fargo to compile the overall crop report. On Day 3, participants surveyed at total of 61 HRS fields and three durum fields. The Day 3 weighted average yield for HRS was 46.2 bu/a, down from 51.9 bu/a in 2016. The weighted average durum yield from just three fields was 46.2 bu/a, down from 52.1 bu/a in 2016.

The results reflect a snapshot of yield potential observed by the participants in the fields they scouted.

“There is still a question of abandonment because of the dryness,” said Dave Green, executive vice president of the Wheat Quality Council. “We do not yet know how much of the crop has been hayed — how much of it has been plowed under.”

View highlights and photos from the tour by searching #wheattour17 on Facebook and Twitter. For more information and for results from previous tours, visit the Wheat Quality Council’s website at


The wide range of classes and functional characteristics of U.S. wheat allows customers to produce flour for almost every end-product. Part of USW’s value-added mission is to help strengthen milling, storage and handling and wheat food industries through technical courses and service activities that demonstrate the quality, value and reliability of U.S. wheat.

To fulfill that mission, USW currently works closely with several experienced and respected risk management, milling and food processing consultants from around the world.

“Every wheat market that USW works in has a unique line up of end-products and changing consumer preferences, so engaging consultants who are experts in their field has become an essential part of promoting U.S. wheat,” said Erica Oakley, USW Program Manager. “We are proud of the work our current group of consultants have done and will continue to do. We also see the interest in our services growing, so we welcome the chance to hear from additional consultants who may be interested in helping provide the assistance and training that will benefit our customers.”

USW is currently seeking recommendations for consultants with expertise in the following areas:

  • Cookies and crackers
  • Pastries
  • Pasta (durum and non-durum)
  • Milling
  • Asian noodles
  • Wheat procurement and risk management

For more information or inquiries, please contact Erica Oakley at [email protected].