thumbnail

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. This post examines the advantages that durum wheat brings to the market.


Durum is the pasta wheat and the fifth-largest class of wheat grown in the United States with an annual average production over the last five years of 1.6 million metric tons (MMT), or about 58.79 million bushels. In part because of regional economies of scale, U.S. imports of durum at a 5-year average are 1.18 million metric tons (MMT). In comparison, export volume at a 5-year average is slightly less than 680 thousand metric tons (TMT).

Northern durum is grown in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana and primarily exported through the Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway or the Gulf. Desert Durum® is a registered certification mark owned by the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council and the California Wheat Commission. These groups authorize using the mark only for designated durum grain produced under irrigation in Arizona and California’s desert valleys and lowlands. Desert Durum® is exported from the Gulf or the West Coast.

Image shows long goods pasta production in a commercial plant.

The finest quality pasta is produced from U.S. durum grown in the northern Plains and in the southwest as Desert Durum®.

Milling Advantages

U.S. durum is competitive mostly with Canadian durum in the global market. U.S. durum is represented by three subclasses controlling for hard, vitreous kernel (HVK) content. Subclass options include Hard Amber Durum (HAD) with more than 75% vitreous kernels; Amber Durum with 60% to 74% vitreous kernels; and Durum with less than 60% vitreous kernels. Higher HVK values yield a larger quantity of semolina. U.S. durum has a large kernel size, allowing millers to benefit from higher extraction rates.

Desert Durum® is harvested and shipped at a very low moisture content. This advantage to millers contributes to efficient transportation costs and high extraction rates. It also allows them to add significantly more water during the tempering and conditioning phase of processing.

Product Advantages

The finest quality pasta is the primary product made from U.S. durum –  long goods, short goods, pasta of all shapes and sizes. Other products made from durum include couscous and some varieties of traditional Mediterranean semolina bread. In all durum food products, one quality factor is the most critical to the consumer – color. In its purest form, pasta is water and durum semolina. Couscous is large semolina boiled and eaten as an alternative to rice. In both products, consumers prefer a bright yellow, translucent appearance that U.S. durum delivers because of its higher HVK level. The higher HVK also allows the miller to provide a more uniform, consistent semolina to the pasta process, thus improving production efficiencies and color.

Image shows couscous made from durum wheat

Couscous is produced with durum wheat.

Sourcing Opportunities

Like some other classes of wheat, U.S. durum planted area is declining. Proactively working with producers and suppliers is the best way to assure ample supply to the market. Desert Durum® can be produced and delivered “identity-preserved” to domestic and export markets, which allows customers to purchase grain of varieties possessing quality traits specific to their needs. Annual production requirements can be pre-contracted with grain merchandisers ahead of the fall-winter planting season for harvest from late May to early July. Varietal identity is maintained by experienced growers planting certified seed and merchandisers who store and ship according to customers’ preferred delivery schedules.

Northern durum is competitively sourced by U.S. pasta producers in the Midwest and northern states. Export customers must be proactive when working with suppliers to obtain the best quality available, such as HAD.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each specific class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and consistency of supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient: flour. The flour made from each class of U.S. wheat brings value to the market through specific quality characteristics that make a variety of baked goods and noodles. Further, blending flours from one or more types of wheat is an important component for customers to understand as part of optimizing flour performance at a minimal cost.

Each region, country, and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique wheat classes, the United States has the right wheat class to deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of product on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in our “Ask The Expert” section.

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Hard White
Soft White
Soft Red Winter

thumbnail

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. This post examines the advantages that hard red spring wheat brings to the market.


This post discusses the value U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat brings to the global market. HRS is the second largest wheat class with a five-year annual average production of 13.7 million metric tons (MMT)or about 504 million bushels as of 2020/21. It accounts for about 26% of the total wheat produced in the United States.

The three subclasses of HRS include Dark Northern Spring (DNS) with 75% or more of dark, hard and vitreous (DHV) kernels; Northern Spring (NS) with 25% or more but less than 75% DHV kernels; and Red Spring (RS) with less than 25% DHV kernels.

Milling Advantages

U.S. HRS wheat poses some unique opportunities and challenges to the miller. HRS is the hardest of all the non-durum classes of wheat but also has the smallest average kernel size. Millers experienced with HRS in their grist know excellent results can be achieved with some adjustments.

First, adjusting the screen sizes of separating equipment in the cleaning house will reduce the risk of losing good quality but also results in smaller kernels. A longer conditioning time is needed to ensure the tempering water fully penetrates the harder HRS wheat kernels. Optimal conditioning time is dependent on several factors, but in most cases, HRS will require a minimum of 20 hours for optimal conditioning time. The miller’s reward for these adjustments is higher than average flour yield from the harder, more compact HRS endosperm. The hard endosperm creates excellent granulation through the break system to provide an abundance of stock to the purifiers. This allows the miller to maximize flour with low ash and excellent color throughout the head end of the mill.

Baking Advantages

Because of the high protein content and strong dough characteristic of U.S. hard red spring wheat flour, it is commonly used in a blend to improve the performance of a lower protein base flour. Only a few end products such as artisan-style bread, whole wheat products, and bagels may be made with 100% HRS flour to achieve optimal performance. For nearly any type of bread or leavened bread product such as thick pizza crust, the greatest value of HRS flour comes from blending it with a lower protein, lower-cost flour to create optimal ingredients for individual products. In markets where consumers demand a “clean label,” HRS flour blended with HRW or other wheat flour can create better water absorption and loaf volume while using less or no chemical dough improvers. And many pasta makers around the world know that when traditional durum wheat semolina is not needed, HRS wheat flour or semolina is a very acceptable alternative.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient, flour. The flour made from each unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to the market in the unique quality characteristics to make a variety of baked goods and noodles. It is also important to understand the value of blending flour from one or more types of wheat to optimize the flour performance at a minimal cost.

Each region, country, and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique wheat classes, the United States has the right wheat class to deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of products on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in the U.S. Wheat Associates’ “Ask The Expert” section.

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Winter
Hard White
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

thumbnail

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. This post examines the advantages that soft white wheat brings to the market.


Soft white (SW) wheat is the fourth largest class of wheat grown in the United States, with an annual average production over the last five years of 7.51 million metric tons (MMT), or about 276 million bushels. Although SW is the fourth largest class measured by production, it is the third-largest if measured by exports, with nearly 80% of its annual production exported. As with hard white (HW) wheat, SW wheat includes winter and spring varieties increasing the protein range and functionality within the class. U.S. SW wheat has a strong export demand in Asian markets. From specialty products such as sponge cakes, Asian noodles, biscuits, and crackers, to blending with hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat for improving bread color, soft white wheat flour has the versatility to improve the quality and appearance of a wide variety of products.

Milling Advantages

U.S. soft white wheat performs very well on the mill. Arriving at the mill with a high 1,000 kernel weight, average moisture of less than 10%, an average test weight of more than 80 hectoliter mass, and a low quantity of screenings, SW wheat provides millers every opportunity for high flour extraction. The high extraction potential produces a whiter flour due to its lighter bran color. The lower wheat moisture allows the miller to temper the wheat to a lower average target moisture, optimizing flour extraction, particle size, and color.

Baking Advantages

The target market for SW is confectionary products, specifically sponge cakes. However, SW also performs well as a blending flour in a wider variety of products such as Asian noodles and steam bread. The lower moisture content of the flour produced creates an advantage for the baker by increasing the amount of water added while optimizing water absorption and product quality for the consumer. The finer particle size will generally increase the water absorption rate, decreasing mix time and improving production efficiencies. With the fine particle size and starch characteristics, SW flour creates a unique and tender texture for many end-use products. Some markets have successfully blended SW wheat flour with HRS wheat and HRW wheat flour to improve crumb color, texture, and even the loaf volume of pan bread.

As with hard white wheat flour, SW flour also delivers a low polyphenol oxidase (PPO) content. PPO is an enzyme that can cause dough discoloration. Lower PPO content brightens the appearance of any end product.

Sourcing Opportunities

Soft white wheat is defined by three distinct subclasses; soft white, white club, and western white. The three distinct subclasses allow the customer to purchase white club separately from soft white wheat, permitting the creation of different blends for specific uses. Club wheat is unique in that its ultra-soft weak gluten is not tied to protein content and delivering unique starch and protein characteristics that customers prefer for sponge cakes and other specialty confectionary products.

Standard SW may be purchased with a higher protein content (10.5%) to use in blends with HRS and HRW wheat classes to create products with different colors and textures. An important reminder when purchasing SW wheat: Customers generally specify a maximum protein content (max 9.0, 9.5, or 10.5% protein) for sponge cake and confectionary uses versus a minimum protein content typical in hard wheat contracts.  Low protein SW, less than 9.0%, is generally priced more than higher protein greater than 10.5% depending on the year.

Alternatively, the subclass western white wheat is a blend of not less than 10% club and 90% soft white wheat, which allows the customer to define quality targets and adjust the proportion of SW and Club wheat in the blend according to price and quality expectations.

Yield Down, Protein Up in 2021 Crop

It is important to note that the Pacific Northwest (PNW) drought reduced SW production in 2021/22 by 26% and pushed protein levels higher than average. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is helping flour millers learn that testing for Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) is an effective and valuable method for predicting the true performance characteristics of SW and SW subclass flour products, and additional testing is underway to assess performance in the 2021 crop.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each specific class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient, flour. The flour made from each unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to the market in the unique quality characteristics to make a variety of baked goods and noodles. It is also important to understand the value of blending flour from one or more types of wheat to optimize the flour performance at a minimal cost.

Each region, country, and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique wheat classes, the United States has the right wheat class to deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of product on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in our “Ask The Expert” section.

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Hard White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

thumbnail

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. This post examines the advantages that soft red winter wheat brings to the market.


Soft red winter (SRW) wheat is the third-largest class of wheat grown in the United States, with an annual average production over the last five years of 8.28 million metric tons (MMT), or just over 300 million bushels. Although SRW is the third largest class measured by production, it is the fourth largest as measured by export sales. U.S. SRW wheat is predominantly grown east of the Mississippi River and the South as far west as northeast Texas and southeast Kansas.

Importers of SRW are served from ports on the Lakes, East Coast, Gulf, and Western Gulf. Mexico imports a substantial portion of its SRW purchases via direct rail shipment. Importers and the domestic milling and baking industries use SRW for specialty products such as cookies (biscuits), crackers, snack foods, and cake flour. SRW is a versatile wheat for blending with hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat to lower grist cost and improve bread crumb texture, or to improve the quality and appearance of a wide variety of products.

Milling Advantages

SRW can be challenging to mill. Some advantages to milling SRW are reduced energy requirements, and fewer rollermills for mill flows designed specifically for soft wheat. Few mills are designed for only SRW as it is generally a specialty wheat used for specialty products. The real advantage for milling companies is the cost reduction of the mill grist and increased diversity of products when SRW is included in a long-term, strategic wheat procurement plan. SRW performs best on the mill at a lower moisture content (14.5%) compared to hard wheat (16%) and requires increased sifter area per metric ton.

Baking Advantages

The target market for SRW is confectionary products, but it also performs well as a blending flour in a wider variety of products such as crackers and cookies. The lower moisture content of the flour creates an advantage for the baker by increasing the amount of water added while optimizing water absorption and product quality for the consumer. The finer particle size generally increases the water absorption rate, decreasing mix time and improving production efficiencies. As is the message with most U.S. wheat classes, blending SRW flour with other flour types creates opportunities to create the optimal flour type for any number of end-use products. Some markets have found success blending SRW wheat flour with HRS and HRW wheat flour to improve crumb texture and even the loaf volume of pan bread by improving the dough development and mixing properties.

Sourcing Opportunities

Soft red winter wheat is lower in protein than hard wheat classes and is generally lower in cost. It is most often available for export out of the Mississippi River but at times can be shipped via rail to the center Gulf or Mexico. Another critical factor to consider when purchasing SRW is to include a maximum value for deoxynivalenol (DON), particularly in years when SRW matured during wet, humid conditions.

Optimal purchases of SRW are combined with HRW or HRS to minimize storage constraints at the destination mill. There is a high demand for SRW in the domestic U.S. market. In years where acreage and production are lower than average, the price can be inverted in comparison to higher protein classes.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each specific class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient: flour. The flour made from each unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to the market through unique quality characteristics that make a variety of baked goods and noodles. Further, blending flours from one or more types of wheat is an important component for customers to understand as part of optimizing flour performance at a minimal cost.

Each region, country and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique wheat classes, the United States has the right wheat class to deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of product on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in our “Ask The Expert” section.

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Hard White
Soft White
Durum

thumbnail

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. This post examines the advantages that hard red winter wheat brings to the market.


Let us start with the value that the largest wheat class, hard red winter (HRW) wheat, brings to the global market. With annual average production over the last five years of 22.64 million metric tons (MMT) or more than 831 million bushels, U.S. HRW accounts for more than 41 percent of the total wheat produced in the United States.

Milling Advantages

Mills that only use one class of wheat in their grist are few and far between. Blending classes of wheat from different origins is a standard and crucial for the mill and its customers. Blending adds consistent quality in mill operation and, in the resulting flour products, to the wheat foods processor. It helps the mill produce the most valuable flour at a lower cost, and, of course, blending is needed to produce the range of flour products for specific end uses.

For these reasons, the quantity and quality of U.S. HRW produced annually create an optimal foundation for any wheat procurement strategy. From the miller’s perspective, U.S. HRW brings consistency to the grist. For a mill to perform optimally, it needs to be well-balanced. Constantly changing mill grist creates a milling environment that is difficult to keep balanced. A balanced mill optimizes flour extraction and helps maximize milling efficiency. Maintaining U.S. HRW as the foundation of the mill grist allows the miller to blend local wheat, other U.S. wheat classes, or wheat from other origins as cost advantages or product differentiation opportunities develop in the market.

Baking Advantages

U.S. HRW is available in a wide range of protein levels, which is excellent for making a variety of wheat foods alone or blended with flour from other classes to optimize performance and flour cost. It is also suitable for producing an all-purpose flour that can be used in a wide range of products. Medium protein flour from HRW can be used for several types of yeast and flatbreads, and noodles. Low protein HRW flour can be used in a blend with soft white (SW) or soft red winter (SRW) to make some types of biscuits (cookies). Higher protein HRW can be used for pizza crust, artisan bread, or non-durum pasta as a 100 percent grist or blended with high protein hard red spring (HRS) wheat to reduce wheat cost and optimize the quality characteristics of the finished products.

USW technical colleagues evaluate hard red winter flour performance in bread

Evaluating Hard Red Winter Flour Performance. USW technical experts from around the world visited the United States in March 2022 to update their already strong knowledge of U.S. wheat performance. Here, at the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland, Ore., evaluating bread quality made with flour from hard red winter and other U.S. wheat classes are (L-R): Adrian Redondo, USW Manila; David Oh, USW Seoul; Andres Saturno, USW Santiago; Peter Lloyd, USW Casablanca; Roy Chung, USW Singapore; Tarik Gahi, USW Casablanca; Bon Lee, Wheat Marketing Center (foreground); Casey Chumrau, Idaho Wheat Commission (background).

In the end, the greatest benefit to the baker is the same as the miller: consistency when used as the sole wheat type or used in a blend to improve the baking characteristics, such as dough stability or water absorption, of local wheat or wheat from another origin. U.S. HRW is always available to the market and provides the most reliable foundation for the formulation of nearly any wheat-based product.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each specific class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient, flour. The flour made from each unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to the market in the unique quality characteristics to make a variety of baked goods and noodles.

Each region, country and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six distinct wheat classes, the United States has the right wheat class to help deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of product on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in the U.S. Wheat Associates’ “Ask The Expert” section.

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Spring
Hard White
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

thumbnail

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. This post examines the advantages that hard white wheat brings to the market.


Hard white (HW) wheat is the smallest class of wheat grown in the United States, with an annual average production over the last five years of less than 1 million metric tons (MMT), about 30 million bushels. U.S. HW is the newest wheat class and has developed a strong niche for whole wheat flour products in the U.S. domestic market. In addition, HW varieties are bred to yield flour for both bread and Asian noodles.

The strong demand for a specific use and the relatively small production has created a market where most HW is grown under contract with domestic milling companies to assure quality standards and provide a premium price incentive to farmers. It is also important to mention that HW wheat includes winter and spring varieties, increasing the protein range and functionality within the class.

Milling Advantages

U.S. hard white wheat performs in the mill much like hard red winter (HRW) wheat. The most apparent HW benefit is higher extraction levels of whiter flour due to its lighter bran color. Higher extraction rates generally improve flour water absorption, benefiting the baker. HW is a true hard wheat creating an advantageous granulation in the primary breaks for the production of coarse semolina, increasing the production of low ash flour.

Baking and Processing Advantages

The most significant advantage of hard white wheat is the quality of baked products made from hard white wheat flour. As mentioned, one of the primary uses of hard white flour in the U.S. baking industry is for whole wheat products. By using ultra-fine white whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread can be produced with the color and texture of traditional bread. This has created a large demand for white whole wheat flour in school lunch programs and other products promoting the health benefits of whole wheat flour and its acceptable taste to children.

Another advantage of HW wheat flour is its low polyphenol oxidase (PPO) content. PPO is an enzyme that can cause the browning of dough. Lower PPO content improves the color of wet noodles and Asian steamed bread products. The starch-pasting characteristics of some HW varieties, as measured by amylograph values, are also an essential trait for noodle production. High peak viscosity is associated with desirable texture characteristics in noodles.

Sourcing Challenges

With all the advantages of HW to the milling and baking industry, the market has challenges in determining its value. Most hard white wheat is grown under production contracts by U.S. milling companies. It is also grown predominantly in the Great Plains, adding to the challenge of marketing HW to Asian customers sourcing wheat off the West Coast. The small size of the HW planted acres creates challenges for a volume-based grain handling system. The need to segregate HW from HRW or hard red spring (HRS) wheat adds cost to the elevators due to the time required to clean equipment and bins. It can also be difficult to accumulate enough quantity to fill a ship hold or a complete unit train. These challenges require creativity and flexibility from both the buyer and seller, who must work together to pull HW wheat through the market and encourage the wheat producer to increase HW wheat planted acres.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each specific class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient, flour. The flour made from each unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to the market in the unique quality characteristics to make a variety of baked goods and noodles. It is also important to understand the value of blending flour from one or more types of wheat to optimize the flour performance at a minimal cost.

Each region, country, and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique wheat classes, the United States has the right wheat class to deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of product on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in the U.S. Wheat Associates’ “Ask The Expert” section.

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

thumbnail

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

While global wheat importers have many wheat types and origins to consider, U.S. wheat farmers offer the most diversity in the six distinct classes of wheat they produce. The United States is the only exporting country with grain standards that allow buyers to specify for both wheat class and protein content in their contracts.

However, to achieve the best value for the wheat purchased, the buyer must be well informed to understand the subtle yet critical differences in wheat contract specifications when comparing the quality and value of U.S. wheat to wheat from other origins.

Let us use protein content, perhaps the most basic quality characteristic in wheat, as an example.

How wheat quality characteristics are reported varies from country to country depending on “standards” set by regulations in each country. For protein content, the reporting standard is to compare protein based on moisture content, or the calculated moisture content equivalent.

However, within the major exporting countries there are three different reporting standards for protein content. U.S. wheat grade standards require the percent protein to be reported at a 12% moisture basis. Canadian standards report protein content at 13.5% moisture basis. All other exporting countries, such as Russia, report protein content at 0.0% moisture basis, also referred to as dry basis or d.b.

What that means for the buyer is the only way to get an accurate comparison of protein content in wheat supplies from different exporting countries is to compare them on a common moisture basis. Fortunately, that can be done with a relatively simple calculation – or by contacting your local U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) representative. Let us look first at how protein content is reported and calculated.

Example 1

A sample of wheat is evaluated, and the protein content is measured at 11.8% with the moisture content measured at 11.0%. If the reporting standard is 12% moisture basis (m.b.), the reported protein content must be calculated using the formula commonly referred to as the Dry Matter (DM) ratio, expressed here:

The full equation looks like this:

Using the variables in our example, we calculated that the wheat has 11.67% protein on a 12% m.b.

An easy way to determine if the math is done properly is comparing the direction of the final value. If the actual moisture content is lower than the reported moisture basis, the reported protein content will be lower than the actual measured protein content.

Next, let us use the same numbers to calculate the protein at a dry basis or 0% moisture.

Example 2

In this calculation, the actual moisture content (11.0%) is higher than the reported moisture basis (0.0%), so the reported protein content will be higher than the actual measured protein content.

The importance of this example is to understand that the actual protein content of the wheat does not change based on moisture, it is simply math and how the protein content is reported.

Reporting protein content and other wheat and flour attributes such as water absorption at a standard moisture basis is critical to compare expected flour performance of wheat from different origins.

Here is one last example to illustrate this difference. How does Russian grade #3 wheat at 12.5% protein reported at a dry basis, compare to U.S. hard red winter (HRW) wheat reported at 12% moisture basis?

To answer this question, we do the math.

Example 3

In this calculation, the reported moisture basis of Russian origin wheat is 0.0%, lower than the reported moisture basis of U.S. wheat at 12.0%. As a result, the standard reported protein content of Russian wheat is higher than the standard reported protein content of U.S. wheat, even though the actual protein content is the same for both at 11%.

This difference has been challenging buyers of wheat for years. That is just one reason why USW, the wheat farmers we represent, and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service continue to make trade servicing and technical support a priority in its activities with overseas wheat buyers, millers and wheat food processors. Contact your regional USW office representative for more information or visit our website and leave a question in our “Ask The Expert” section.

thumbnail

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles designed to help flour millers transition efficiently and effectively from old to new crop wheat.]

Delivering a homogeneous mix of wheat to the mill is critical to optimize mill performance and assure consistently high-quality flour products for end-user customers. Blending wheat prior to conditioning and milling is a necessary part of this process and is even more critical as the farmers who grow your grist are harvesting their new wheat crop.

To maximize product quality and cost, both the miller and the baker are rewarded by processing a consistent wheat blend. Consistency is the most critical flour quality characteristic for large bakeries.  Delivering a consistent product during harvest and new crop transition can be a challenge. However, a well-defined and implemented plan can assure a successful transition for both the miller and the baker.

Mark Fowler (L), USW Vice President of Global Technical Services, and Shawn Thiele (R), Associate Director; Flour Milling and Grain Processing Curriculum Manager at IGP Institute, recently conducted technical support in several Nigerian flour mills.

Flour extraction, or yield, is the main measure of efficiency of the milling process.  Differences in the physical attributes of wheat such as moisture, kernel size and density do change the mill balance and may lower extraction rates, flour output and ultimately lower profitability for the miller. Careful blending of new and old crop wheat is the best defense against these risks.

How much and how soon to incorporate new crop wheat into the mill grist is an important consideration during the harvest transition. In most cases, existing inventory constraints make this decision for the miller. In my experience, an optimal blending plan is to incorporate new crop into the mill grist at a rate of 10 percent in the beginning and gradually increase the blend, ideally over four to six weeks. The transition can be longer depending on the availability of new crop wheat and storage capacity in the mill. The most important thing is to lay out a blending plan as you tender for your first delivery of new crop wheat.

Blending old and new crop wheat always provides other benefits to the flour miller. Blending wheat based on quality characteristics such as protein content or water absorption allows the miller to provide the baker flour that meets their desired quality characteristics. And blending wheat of various classes or origins purchased at different prices also helps the miller meet customer demand at the best possible variable cost.

In the next post in this series, we will address the potential changes to flour quality characteristics due to new crop wheat and blending to meet flour quality characteristics expected by our customers. As always, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) technical experts are available to answer any question our customers may have by contacting their local USW office, or by sharing a question in our new “Ask the Expert” section of our website at https://www.uswheat.org/market-and-crop-information/ask-the-expert/.

thumbnail

By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles to help flour millers transition efficiently and effectively from old to new crop wheat.]

As U.S. wheat farmers finally start harvesting their 2019 winter wheat crop, flour millers around the world turn their focus toward the quality characteristics of the new crop. Each year, millers must remember that wheat is a natural product, so its “millability” (how efficiently wheat can be turned into wheat flour) and quality are affected not only by the predominant and new varieties, but also the growing conditions for the wheat you are buying.

As a former commercial flour miller and milling instructor, I considered this as an ideal time to think about what impact the potential changes in the crop may have on the techniques required to transition new crop wheat on to the mill.

Mark Fowler (right), USW Vice President of Global Technical Services, is a former commercial flour miller and milling instructor at Kansas State University’s IGP Institute, here with millers in Taiwan.

To minimize changes to key quality characteristics their end users need to make a variety of bread and other products from wheat flour, millers will face the challenge of blending new crop with old crop wheat during the initial transition period. Blending wheat to maintain protein percentage and flour functionality characteristics gets the most attention as a matter of course. However, millability is affected by several quality characteristics. Moisture, test weight, kernel size and kernel hardness are just a few of the factors that millers must evaluate during this time of transition to optimize the quantity (extraction rate) and quality of the flour they will produce.

As U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports on the progress and quality of the 2019 U.S. wheat harvest over the next several weeks, our team of technical experts will provide a series of insights to help our flour miller customers prepare for integrating new crop wheat along with some interpretation of the potential impact of wheat quality results for the millers and end users. We will review such topics as wheat and flour blending, cleaning, tempering and conditioning and end use functionality.

Understanding the impact of the new wheat supply and preparing to make the necessary changes is the key to a successful crop transition. As always, USW technical experts are available to answer any question our customers may have by contacting their local USW office, or by sharing a question in our new “Ask the Expert” section of our website at https://www.uswheat.org/market-and-crop-information/ask-the-expert/.