By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

In its February 2019 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, USDA predicted global wheat production to fall 3 percent below last year’s volume to 735 million metric tons (MMT) due to significant weather challenges in the European Union (EU), Russia, and Australia. EU production of 136 MMT falls 11 percent under last year’s harvest, Russian production of 72.0 MMT falls 15 percent below last year and Australian production of 17.0 MMT is the country’s lowest output since 2007/08. Meanwhile, USDA predicts increased production for Canada at 32.0 MMT and the United States at 51.0 MMT.

While USDA decreased its global production estimates for 2018/19, it bumped its estimates of total global use to 747 MMT, a sixth consecutive annual record, driven primarily by a 3 percent increase in Chinese feed and residual use.

Though production is down year over year in several key export regions, world wheat trade estimates are nearly in line with last year’s volume at 179 MMT, 7 percent higher than the 5-year average of 167 MMT. Argentina, Canada and the United States are all expected to increase exports year over year to 14.0 MMT, 24.0 MMT, and 27.2 MMT, respectively. Based on weekly USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) commercial sales data, U.S. wheat export sales (as of Jan. 3, 2019) total 17.9 MMT, or 66 percent of market year 2018/19’s expected export volume.

U.S. Gulf free on board (FOB) prices have been relatively stable for the past few months. Hard red winter (HRW) and hard red spring (HRS) export prices remain relatively unchanged from mid-October while soft red winter (SRW) export prices are on the rise. Though SRW prices are higher now than in recent months, they are still highly competitive on the world stage. As of Feb. 8, 2019, U.S. SRW prices were competitive enough with the French and the Black Sea offers for an Egyptian purchase of 120,000 metric tons (MT). As competitor exportable supplies continue to decrease into the second half of marketing year 2018/19, U.S. wheat is expected to remain more competitive in this and other price-sensitive markets.

Each month, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) updates a graphic summary of USDA’s WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates) report. View the February summary here.


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports on global wheat supply and demand to its farmer directors at each of their board meetings. The directors meet in Washington, D.C., the week of Feb. 11 and the report will include the following update on marketing year 2018/19 wheat production, with one exception: the latest U.S. supply and demand data will be added after USDA issues catch-up reports on Feb. 8.

Canada. In its January “Principle Field Crops” report, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) tallied total 2018/19 Canadian wheat production at 31.8 million metric tons (MMT) (1.20 billion bushels), up 6 percent year over year. AAFC estimated the average yield for all wheat was 3.22 MT/ha (47.9 bu/acre). That is down 4 percent from 2017/18 though significantly offset by a 10 percent increase in harvested area to 9.90 million hectares (24.5 million acres). Production of all wheat excluding durum increased 4 percent from 2017/18 levels to 26.0 MMT due to increased harvested area, despite slightly lower yields in 2018/19.

Increased planted area helped push durum production up by 16 percent to 5.70 MMT, while quality decreased slightly. The Canadian Grains Commission (CGC) reported 85 percent of the Canadian Western Amber Durum (CWAD) samples tested graded No. 1 or No. 2 CWAD, compared to 91 percent in 2017/18. For Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS), CGC reported 56 percent of samples were No. 1 CWRS, compared to 78 percent in 2017/18. The percentage of samples tested as feed grade increased to 11 percent compared to last year’s 4 percent.

AAFC expects 2018/19 Canadian total wheat exports (including durum) to reach 22.9 MMT, up 5 percent from last year if realized.

European Union. Stratégie Grains (SG) forecasted total European Union (EU) wheat production at 136 MMT, down 11 percent year over year due to adverse weather conditions and decreased harvested area. Total EU harvested wheat area fell 2 percent year over year and total average yields for the region fell 9 percent. Common (non-durum) wheat production fell 10 percent from 2017/18 levels to 127 MMT due to significant weather challenges in Germany, France, and the Baltic countries.

Durum production fell 7 percent to 8.60 MMT in 2018/19, however this year’s total still sits slightly above the 5-year average of 8.50 MMT. SG noted that Italian durum yields were their lowest since 2010 at 3.09 MT/ ha (46.0 bu/acre), and the situation was exacerbated by a low-protein harvest that failed to match the excellent quality recorded in 2017. French durum yields were also the lowest they have been since 2011, not counting the disastrous harvest recorded in 2016.

SG expects total EU wheat exports to fall to 19.2 MMT, down 18 percent year over year, if realized due to increased animal feed consumption, following poor quality harvest years in Spain and France, and decreased overall supplies.

Australia. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) forecasted 2018/19 wheat production at 17.0 MMT, its lowest volume since 2007/08 due to extreme drought in New South Wales and Queensland. Wheat exports will decrease sharply year over year due to lower production and increased demand for domestic feed supplies. Domestic demand for feed wheat, due to forage pressure on livestock herds, is expected to increase 20 percent year over year to 5.0 MMT. ABARES estimates total Australian wheat exports will fall 31 percent below 2017/18 levels and 40 percent below the 5-year average, down to 10.6 MMT.

Argentina. Bolsa de Cereales, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, reported a record Argentinian harvest of 19.0 MMT, despite concerns in late December 2018 that yield and quality could suffer from hard rains and hail storms. Final average yields are right in line with the 5-year average at 3.10 MT/ha (46.2 bu/acre) but fall below last year’s 3.20 MT/ha (47.7 bu/acre). Total production is up 10 percent from 2017/18 with increased planted and harvested area, which offset lower yields. Planted area increased 9 percent year over year to 6.0 million hectares (14.8 million acres). USDA expects 2018/19 Argentina wheat exports to total 14.2 MMT, 15 percent above last year’s export volume and 40 percent above the 5-year average, if realized.

Black Sea. SG estimated Russian wheat production at 72.0 MMT, down 18 percent from last year’s 85.0 MMT due to decreased harvested area and notably lower yields across the board. Russia’s harvested area dropped by 5 percent year over year to 26.3 million hectares (65.0 million acres) and average yields decreased by 12 percent to 2.73 MT/ha (40.6 bu/acre). Most significant yield losses were reported in Russia’s southeastern Volga region, which fell 33 percent below last year’s figures. Though Russian production fell significantly below 2017/18 levels, this year’s 72.0 MMT still lands 3 percent higher than the 5-year average of 70.0 MMT. The Russian Ministry of Agriculture readjusted its 2018/19 total wheat export estimates to 36.0 MMT, a 12 percent drop from 2017/18 export levels, if realized. As of late January 2019, IKAR reported total Russian exports at 26.2 MMT, or 73 percent of the country’s total expected export volume. SG estimates that the influence of Russia’s decreased production and exports will bolster global wheat prices until the start of MY 2019/20.

The State Statistics Service of Ukraine (SSSU) estimated the 2018/19 wheat harvest at 24.6 MMT, right in line with the 5-year average, but down 8 percent from last year’s record harvest due to decreased yields which offset increased harvested area. SG reports Ukraine’s 2018/19 average yield at 3.72 MT/ha (55.3 bu/acre), 7 percent below last year’s record of 4.16 MT/ ha (61.9 bu/acre). Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture tallied total wheat exports, as of late January 2019, at 11.2 MMT. Last year, the Ukrainian government issued a memorandum establishing a 2018/19 export ceiling at 16.0 MMT, its lowest export volume since 2014/15, if realized.

SG estimated Kazakh wheat production at 14.3 MMT, down slightly from last year due to decreased harvested area. However, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry estimated the country will export a record 9.0 MMT in 2018/19, 1.20 MMT more than left the country last year. If realized, this year’s total Black Sea exports from all three countries will amount to 61.0 MMT, down 12 percent from last year, but still 11 percent above the 5-year average.


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst


As the U.S. government shutdown enters its fourth week, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) leans on its network of media and industry resources to illuminate the information void left by a partially-funded USDA, which cannot publish its critical economic reports until the agency receives full funding again. Fortunately, many other sources have estimated planted area, so USW can approximate the direction of winter wheat and spring wheat planting trends year over year. Winter wheat acres, for 2019 harvest, are expected to fall slightly below planting levels for 2018 harvest, while spring wheat acres, planted in the coming months, are expected to rise above 2018 levels.


A Reuters poll of commercial export analysts, published on Jan. 8, 2019, estimated total winter wheat seedings for the 2019 harvest at 32.3 million acres (MA), down nearly 1 percent year over year. This figure falls slightly below USDA ERS data, last updated Dec. 12, 2018, which indicates winter wheat area could total 33.0 MA. The poll’s averaged estimates predict nearly uniform area reductions for all winter wheat classes. Other sources expect a steeper decline in winter wheat acres. Informa Economics forecasts a 1 MA decline year over year at 31.5 MA. However, Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat, believes total U.S. winter wheat acres will remain relatively steady year over year.


The Reuters analyst poll estimated 2019 hard red winter (HRW) seeding area at 22.7 MA, down from 22.9 MA planted for 2018 harvest. Gilpin expects a 10 percent decrease in HRW acres in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas due to extremely wet conditions which delayed the soybean harvest and in turn HRW planting. However, he expects an uptick in HRW planted area in northern states, which would partially offset reduced area in the south. Paul Morano, Syngenta’s Head of Key Accounts for wheat, indicates the company saw increased sales of HRW seed last season, but believes HRW acres will remain relatively steady year over year. This reinforces Gilpin’s point in an interview with The Western Producer on Jan. 10, 2019, that HRW seeded area could be flat despite original grower intentions to plant more.


Planted area for soft red winter (SRW) could land in the neighborhood of 6.02 MA according to the Reuters poll, down year over year from 6.08 MA. The Reuters poll delivered a degree of optimism for SRW seeded acres compared to other industry expectations. Morano believes that a reduction of 600,000 to 1 million acres (around 10 percent below 2018 levels) for SRW is likely due to the same wet conditions that impeded HRW planting for 2019.


USW’s informal survey indicates that hard red spring (HRS) planted area is likely to increase over 2018 levels of 10.5 MA. These estimates fall in line with the latest USDA ERS prediction of 12.7 MA as of Dec. 12. A 17 percent increase in HRS planted area year over year is certainly possible given current market conditions and other industry indicators. HRS in the Northern Plains competes for acreage with other lucrative commodities like corn and soybeans. However, HRS becomes a more alluring alternative up north as low corn prices and volatile trade conditions for soybeans persist into 2019, while average farm gate prices for HRS hold at or above the 5-year average for the first five months of MY 2018/19.


Syngenta’s Morano cites “extremely strong demand for HRS seed this early in the year” as a good indication that growers anticipate expanding their HRS acres, barring an unforeseen weather or market event. Red River Farm Network, covering the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota, also reported that WestBred, a division of Bayer Crop Science, has already sold out of seed for several key varieties of spring wheat earlier than anticipated.


Price uncertainty for corn and soybeans continues while HRS farm gate prices trend higher, leading most industry sources to expect 2019 HRS seeded area will increase year over year.  


USW will compare the industry estimates covered here to the official USDA Winter Wheat Seedings report when, and if, it becomes available.


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

Due to the U.S. government shutdown, the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) mid-year report on 2018/19 export sales reflects USDA export sales data through Dec. 13, 2018. Year over year comparisons are drawn from USDA data on Dec. 14, 2017. Though not current, the data still provides valuable insight into U.S. wheat export conditions as of late last year.

USDA continues to predict 2018/19 exports will reach 27.2 million metric tons (MMT), which, if realized, would be 11 percent higher than 2017/18 and 9 percent above the 5-year average. Total U.S. sales through the second half of the marketing year would have to reach 10.5 MMT to meet that estimate. USW expects the high quality and competitive pricing for select U.S. wheat classes will help push up the sales pace in the second half of the marketing year. Sales of soft red winter (SRW), hard red spring (HRS), and durum are all up year over year, while hard red winter (HRW) and soft white (SW) are behind last year’s pace.


Hard Red Winter (HRW)

USDA reports HRW year-to-date exports at 5 MMT, down 33 percent from Dec. 14, 2017. Export sales to Mexico dropped 14 percent year over year to 1.27 MMT, which USW believes can be attributed to a rocky trade relationship. In 2018, Russia produced its third largest crop of wheat. The significant volume of Russian Third Class held a firm FOB price advantage over U.S. HRW in the first half of the marketing year. Competition for HRW remains stiff in the price-conscious markets where Russia has a freight advantage, but the spread between Russian Third Class and U.S. HRW FOB prices has narrowed significantly since June 2018, a price convergence that could boost HRW demand. The 2018 HRW crop quality attributes significantly exceed the last two years and many of the 5-year averages, indicating that this is one of the highest quality HRW harvests in several years.

Hard Red Spring (HRS)

Total HRS sales of 5.2 MMT are up 4 percent from this time last year and fall right in line with the 5-year average. The HRS harvest was the largest in 22 years and boasts above average protein levels and excellent dough and bake qualities. That quality and competitive pricing* drive export demand as FOB prices out of the Pacific Northwest remain near a constant $255 per MT. The Philippines continues to import the largest volume of HRS at 1.4 MMT, which marks a 24 percent increase over last year’s pace. Sales to Vietnam are up significantly year over year to 132,000 MT, and sales to Thailand are up 50 percent at 338,000 MT. Only the tariff conflict with China, which has imported no U.S. wheat since March 2018, holds back current HRW sales.

*From November 17, 2017, to Nov. 18, 2018, U.S. HRS FOB prices declined nearly 20 cents per MT while competitor prices over the same period trended slightly higher.

Soft Red Winter (SRW)

Export sales of SRW through Dec. 13, 2018, are up 15 percent over 2017/18 at 2.15 MMT, driven by competitive SRW FOB prices. Sales to nine of the top 20 U.S. SRW export markets, including Brazil, Costa Rica and South Africa, are ahead of last year’s pace. Sales to Mexico are 10 percent ahead of 2017/18 at 605,000 metric tons (MT). Ecuador’s SRW imports stand at 147,000 MT, up substantially from last year.

Soft White (SW)

As of Dec. 13, 2018, export sales of SW are down 8 percent year over year at 3.9 MMT. However, total sales rise above the 5-year average by 20 percent. The loss of Chinese SW imports points to the drop in export sales year over year. The Philippines and Indonesia, two of our SW top markets, hold steady at 911,000 MT and 507,000 MT, respectively, compared to the 2017/18 pace. Sales to Yemen are 18 percent ahead of last year’s pace at 181,000 MT and sales to Thailand are 46 percent ahead of last year’s pace at 283,000 MT. SW customers are taking advantage of this year’s good test weight, lower moisture and lower protein content.


Year to date durum exports total 406, 000 MT, up 50 percent from Dec. 14 last year with increased import paces in all U.S. durum markets. Most notably, export sales to the European Union, already the largest buyer of U.S. durum, increased by 101 percent to 232,000 MT, supported by the crop’s excellent quality and competitive price. The 2018 harvest boasts high protein and excellent kernel characteristics, ideal for premium pasta products.

Hard White (HW)

USDA reports notable HW sales of 135,000 MT to Nigeria. This is the first significant export sales of HW in many years, as HW production is up slightly from the year prior and boasts high protein levels and good bread baking potential.

Looking Ahead

USDA projects a 4 percent increase in global wheat consumption over the 5-year average at 744 MMT. As exportable supplies from Russia, the EU and Australia begin to wane as we move into the second half of the marketing year, U.S. FOB prices for HRW, SRW, and HRS are more competitive now than they were in June 2018. This represents an advantageous opportunity for customers to extract even more value from the 2018/19 U.S. wheat supply.


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

In its December World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, USDA predicted a 4 percent year over year decline in world wheat production for marketing year 2018/19, driven by severe drought in Australia and current cold, wet conditions in Russia. Australian production is expected to fall 32 percent below the 5-year average, the lowest level since 2007/08. Russian production is expected to fall 18 percent year over year, which would exceed the 5-year average by 6 percent.

While USDA predicts a decline in global wheat production, it expects total wheat consumption to rise. This year, consumption estimates total 744 MMT, 4 percent above the 5-year average. Feed wheat consumption estimate is down 4 percent year over year, but human consumption is up 1 percent year over year and continues to drive overall consumption levels.

Australian drought is driving more than just production numbers. Exports are expected to decrease significantly year over year from 14 million metric tons (MMT) to 10.5 MMT. While production and exports decrease, Australian feed wheat consumption is expected to reach 5.5 MMT, 44 percent above the 5-year average. Total Australian consumption includes 61 percent feed wheat in 2018/19, up 8 percent from last year, as Australian producers struggle to support their livestock through the dry weather.

Pacific Northwest (PNW) free on board (FOB) prices have been relatively stable for the past few months. Soft white (SW) export price remains virtually unchanged from mid-October, while export prices for hard red winter (HRW) and hard red spring (HRS) are on the rise. With Australian exports shrinking, the United States increased exports to the Philippines, Thailand, and Bangladesh. Total exports to South Asia are up 18 percent year over year. The decline in global production and incline in global consumption will continue to support U.S. export prices in the coming months.

The United States holds the largest supply of exportable wheat in the world at 50 MMT. U.S. exportable supplies, as a percentage of top exporting countries, is up 25 percent year over year. While global production is shrinking, as always, U.S. wheat remains the world’s most reliable supply.




By Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USW Market Analyst


The expected turn to U.S. wheat supplies appears to be underway.


U.S. wheat exports to price sensitive markets and to typically self-sustaining markets are on the rise due to increased price competitiveness. Fueling this demand for U.S. wheat is, in part, shrinking wheat supplies, especially of high-quality milling wheat following decreased production in half of the world’s major wheat exporters — including Australia, the European Union (EU), Russia and Ukraine. The shrinking supplies in these countries have lifted their domestic and export wheat prices significantly over the past few months. At the same time, a large, high-quality crop pressured U.S. wheat prices lower, resulting in a convergence not seen for several years.


According to International Grains Council (IGC) data, free-on-board (fob) French wheat prices rose 11 percent or $23 per metric ton (MT) from the start of the 2018/19 marketing year (beginning on June 1). Russian 4th Grade fob wheat prices have increased $15 per MT, and Australian fob wheat prices have increased an average $13 per MT. IGC data shows U.S. fob wheat prices slipping an average 8 percent due to the large, high-quality crop.


As of Nov. 22, IGC data shows U.S. wheat is now at a better value than all the major competitor pairings. U.S. soft red winter (SRW) is the best value milling wheat in the world at $216 per MT, $10 per MT below Russian 4th Grade wheat. U.S. 11.5 percent protein (12 percent moisture basis) hard red winter (HRW) is valued at an average $3 per MT below French wheat. U.S. 14 percent protein (12 percent moisture basis) hard red spring (HRS) from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is an average $258 per MT, $4 per MT below Canadian CWRS from Vancouver; and U.S. SW from the PNW is an average $47 per MT less than Australian wheat, which is now the most expensive wheat in the world due to the devastating drought they have suffered.


The convergence in prices has resulted in increased sales of U.S. wheat as customers seek to secure supplies. Notably, on Nov. 26, USDA reported U.S. export sales of 120,000 MT of SRW to Egypt. The announcement followed an earlier General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) public tender where U.S. wheat was the lowest offer. Coupled with earlier sales, U.S. wheat export sales to Egypt now total 220,000 MT, almost double last year’s and the highest level since 2013/14. The United States has also shipped 64,000 MT of HRW to Saudi Arabia, with trade experts expecting additional demand from the country’s recent optional origin tender.

U.S. durum sales are also benefiting from increased price competitiveness. IGC data shows French durum and U.S. durum from the Great Lakes are now at parity at $240 per MT after French durum production was hurt by poor growing conditions. U.S. durum export sales are up 54 percent year over year at 400,000 MT with the EU being the largest buyer, followed by Algeria and Nigeria.


Despite the increased demand for U.S. wheat, U.S. wheat futures remain at or near marketing year lows, pressured by excellent winter wheat crop conditions and good soil moisture in the U.S. Northern Plains.

It is rare for U.S. wheat prices to be in such a competitive position, which represents an excellent opportunity for customers to lock-in their wheat futures price at these excellent levels.


To track U.S. wheat prices, subscribe to the USW Weekly Price Report.


By Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USW Market Analyst

USDA expects global wheat consumption to remain at record high levels in 2018/19 due to increased human consumption. Human wheat consumption is expected to reach a record high 602 million metric tons (MMT), 4 percent above the 5-year average. Over the past ten years, global human wheat consumption has increased 90 MMT, while feed wheat usage has increased 16 MMT.

However, the global supply of milling wheat is expected to fall this year due to challenging growing and harvesting conditions that hurt both quality and yields in many of the major wheat exporting countries. USDA expects global wheat production to fall to the lowest level in 5 years at 734 MMT, down 4 percent from the record high of 763 MMT in 2017/18. If realized, it would be 1 percent below the 5-year average and the first-time global wheat consumption has exceed global wheat production since 2012/13.

The decline in global wheat production is due to decreased production in half of the major wheat exporting countries including the European Union (EU), Russia, Australia and Ukraine. If realized, Russian wheat production would still the third highest on record, but Australian wheat production is expected to fall its lowest level since 2007/08.

Australian wheat production is expected to fall 18 percent year over year to 17.5 MMT due to consecutive years of devastating drought in New South Wales and Queensland where Australian Prime Hard (APH) and Australia Hard (AH) production is centralized. Increased wheat production in Western Australia is expected to partially offset the decrease from the rest of the country. Australian wheat harvest typically occurs in December. USDA expects Australian exports to decrease to 11.5 MMT, 35 percent below the 5-year average and also the lowest level since 2007/08.

With exportable wheat supplies (production plus beginning stocks minus domestic consumption) decreasing in half of the world’s major exporters, USDA expects the United States to have the largest exportable supply of wheat in the world in 2018/19 at 49.9 MMT.

As a consequence, USDA expects 2018/19 U.S. wheat exports to reach 27.9 MMT, up 14 percent from 2017/18 and 7 percent above the 5-year average, if realized. Still, U.S. wheat export sales pace will need to increase to meet this goal, as year-to-date U.S. wheat export sales total just 13.8 MMT or 49 percent of USDA’s anticipated total.

To learn more about 2018 U.S. wheat quality, visit the USW Crop Quality page.


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.


By Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USW Market Analyst

This week, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) holds its 2018 Fall Board of Directors meeting. At each board meeting, the USW Market Analyst presents an update on world and U.S. wheat supply and demand factors based on information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of Oct. 11, 2018. Following are some highlights from the current report to the board.

  • 2018/19 global wheat production to fall for first time in 5 years.
  • Global supplies estimate to fall to 1,006 million metric tons (MMT); down 1 percent from the 2017/18 record.
  • Wheat production in Australia to fall to 18.5 MMT, 26 percent below the 5-year average.
  • U.S. wheat production estimated at 51.3 MMT, 8 percent above 2017/18.


  • Consumption forecast at a record 746 MMT, 4 percent above the 5-year average.
  • Chinese domestic consumption expected to reach 122 MMT, 5 percent above the 5-year average.
  • U.S. domestic consumption to grow 6 percent year over year to 31.1 MMT.


  • World wheat trade projected at 180 MMT, 4 percent above the 5-year average.
  • Australian exports to drop to 13.0 MMT, 10 percent below 2017/18, and the lowest level since 2007/08.
  • Exports from Russia to fall 15 percent year over year 35.0 MMT, still 28 percent above the 5-year average.
  • U.S. 2018/19 exports to increase to 27.9 MMT, up 14 percent from 2017/18, if realized.


  • World beginning stocks estimated at record 275 MMT, up 7 percent year over year.
  • Beginning stocks in Argentina forecast at 1.00 MMT, down 42 percent the 5-year average.
  • U.S. beginning stocks will fall to an estimated 29.9 MMT, 7 percent below 2017/18 levels.


  • Global ending stocks projected at 260 MMT, 5 percent below the record 2017/18 level, if realized.
  • Estimated Chinese ending stocks of 136 MMT account for 52 percent of global ending stocks.
  • Exporter ending stocks forecast at 58.8 MMT, down 24 percent year over year.
  • Ending stocks in importing countries to fall to 65.6 MMT, 15 percent below the 5-year average of 76.8 MMT.


  • Total U.S. wheat export sales for 2018/19 predicted to reach 27.9 MMT.
  • As of Oct. 11, 2018/19, U.S. wheat export sales were 18 percent behind last year’s pace.
  • About 27 percent of that difference represents temporary loss of the Chinese market.
  • Sales of soft red winter and durum are ahead of last year’s pace.



Happy World Pasta Day! What a perfect day for U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) to share an overview of the 2018 U.S. Northern Durum and Desert Durum® crop quality results. Analysis shows the Northern durum crop is sound with high protein and excellent kernel characteristics. Vitreous kernel count and average kernel size are high and quality is balanced across the region. Desert Durum® production is down this year, though the 2018 crop will deliver the valuable milling, semolina and pasta quality traits that customers have learned to expect and appreciate.

Here is a summary of test results for Northern durum and Desert Durum®. As always, USW reminds buyers to be diligent with contract specifications to ensure they receive the quality they need.

Northern Durum

Weather and Harvest: A favorable growing season pushed yields to near record levels; production was up almost 60 percent compared to 2017. As with the hard red spring crop, mid-season rain boosted crop conditions and yield potential. Harvest was complete in most areas by late September.

Wheat and Grade Data: The crop average grade is U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD) with average test weight of 61.4 lbs/bu (79.9 kg/hl) and average total kernel defects of 1 percent. The average vitreous kernel content is 90 percent, up from both last year and the 5-year average, with more than half of the crop above 90 percent vitreous compared to 45 percent in 2017.

Regional average protein is 14.5 percent on a 12 percent moisture basis (12% mb), equal to 2017 and slightly above the 5-year average. The crop average thousand kernel weight (TKW) is 41.2 g, the heaviest in six crop years, and the percent of large kernels is notably higher than a year ago. The average falling number is 425 sec. Although disease pressure was slightly higher in 2018 compared to 2017, DON was undetectable or <0.5 ppm in the samples analyzed.

Semolina and Processing Data: The Buhler laboratory mill average total extraction of 74 percent and semolina extraction of 69.3 percent are both higher than last year and the 5-year averages. The milled product ash and speck counts are also higher than last year and the 5-year averages. The gluten index average is 57.1 percent compared to 86.3 percent in 2017. Last year’s drought conditions supported exceptionally high gluten index values, while the 2018 values are more typical.

Semolina and cooked spaghetti evaluations show similar semolina color values to a year ago, but lower dry pasta color. Mixing properties are slightly weaker and cooked firmness values are similar to the 5-year averages. The higher extraction levels and higher ash levels on the Buhler lab mill may have contributed in part to the lower color scores on the dry pasta. Evaluation of the cooked spaghetti shows slightly lower firmness than 2017, but higher than the 5-year average.

Desert Durum®

Wheat and Grade Data: In 2018, the average grade is No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD). Test weight average was 62.8 lbs/bu (81.8 kg/hl). The average vitreous kernel content (HVAC) is 98.0 percent, a high average typical of Desert Durum®. Average damaged kernels are 0.2 percent and total defects are 0.6 percent. Desert Durum® is characterized by its kernel low moisture content, and this year’s average was 6.7 percent. Protein content average was 13.4 percent (12% mb).

Semolina and Processing Data: The semolina b* value was 30.5, similar to 2017 b* value of 30.9.  Wet gluten of 32.3 percent and gluten index of 75 percent. Semolina Mixograph score was 8 and Alveograph W value was 231 (10-4 Joules), both of which indicate high strength.  Pasta color b* value was 44 and score was 9.6. Pasta cooked firmness was 6.9, significantly higher than 2017.

View the full report for Desert Durum® here.
View the full report for San Joaquin Valley Durum here.
View the full report for Sacramento Valley Durum here.