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The new crop U.S. wheat harvest is underway in south Texas and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will publish its first “Harvest Report” for marketing year 2020/21 on Friday, May 29.

USW Harvest Reports are published every Friday afternoon, Eastern Daylight Time, throughout the season with updates and comments on harvest progress, crop conditions and current crop quality for hard red winter (HRW), soft red winter (SRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and durum wheat.

Anyone may subscribe to an email version of the “Harvest Report” at this link. USW includes links in the email to additional wheat condition and grading information, including the U.S. Drought Monitor, USDA/NASS Crop Progress and National Wheat Statistics, the official FGIS wheat grade standards and USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Harvest Reports are also posted online on the USW website here.

The weekly Harvest Report is a key component of USW’s international technical and marketing programs. It is 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 for answering inquiries and meeting with customers. USW/Mexico City also publishes the report in Spanish.

USW wants to thank and acknowledge the organizations that make “Harvest Reports” possible, including:

  • California Wheat Commission Laboratory;
  • Durum Wheat Quality and Pasta Processing Laboratory, North Dakota State University (NDSU)
  • Great Plains Analytical Laboratory;
  • Plains Grains, Inc.;
  • State Wheat Commissions;
  • USDA/Federal Grain Inspection Service;
  • USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service;
  • USDA/Agricultural Research Service Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory;
  • USDA/National Agricultural Statistics Service;
  • Wheat Marketing Center;
  • Wheat Quality & Carbohydrate Research, Department of Plant Sciences, NDSU;
  • Wheat Quality Council.

 

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By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. In a series of six articles, we will review the advantages that each unique class of U.S. 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 6.32 million metric tons (MMT), or about 232 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 wheat, it is important to mention, 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. SW wheat performs very well on the mill. Arriving at the mill with high 1,000 kernel weight, an 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 as well. 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, but SW 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 to the baker by increasing the amount of water added while optimizing water absorption and product quality to the consumer. The finer particle size will generally increase the rate of water absorption, 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 found success blending 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  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 differing color and texture. 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. This is an important detail as the value of SW is the lower protein.  Low protein SW, less than 9.0%, is generally priced more than higher protein greater than 10.5% depending upon 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.

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 unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to 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 the minimal cost. Each region, country and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique classes of wheat, 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.


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

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

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Washington Grain Commission
USW Member since 1980  

Location: Spokane, Washington
Classes of Wheat Grown: Soft White (SW) and White Club, Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS) and Hard White (HW)
USW Leadership: Wayne Klindworth, 1990/91 Chairman; Christopher Shaffer, 1999/00 Chairman; Randy Suess 2011/12; Mike Miller 2017/18 Chairman

The goal of the Washington Wheat Commission (WGC) when it was chartered in 1958 was “to do as a group what cannot be done alone.” Now, more than half a century later, the organization, known as the Washington Grain Commission since 2009, is none the less committed to developing and improving existing markets for Eastern Washington farmers. The WGC is committed to growing market share in existing, emerging, and new markets around the world. Through promotion, trade, transportation and policy activities, and research on end use qualities, the WGC can carry the wheat legacy first brought by the famed American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who, it’s said, planted the first Washington wheat in 1805.

2017-18 USW Officers, including Washington wheat farmer Mike Miler as the new installed 2017/18 Chairman.

Why is export market development important to Washington wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW?

While around 46 percent of the nation’s wheat crop is exported, upwards of 90 percent of Eastern Washington’s wheat crop heads overseas. About 80 percent of Washington’s production is in soft white wheat, used in sponge cakes, cookies and crackers.

Although we constantly emphasize quality, consistency is just as important as end product manufacturers need a wheat that will perform each and every time in the high throughput environment of modern food manufacturing facilities as well as in more artisan type uses. Having USW’s technical staff overseas is incredibly important. Their ability to troubleshoot problems and provide solutions is one aspect. The other is simply their enthusiasm for wheat sourced from the United States and how they communicate that commitment to customers.

How have Washington wheat farmers recently interacted with overseas customers?

Washington hosts upwards to a dozen trade teams a year from customers located in the Pacific Rim and Latin America. These opportunities not only allow us to educate buyers about the quality and performance of Eastern Washington wheat, they provide a venue for them to see wheat growing in a field in one of the most beautiful growing regions in the world.

With the WGC based out of Spokane, we also can introduce customers to wheat breeders at Washington State University and the Western Wheat Quality Lab in Pullman, where wheat samples are milled and evaluations of their quality tested. We also regularly take them to our nearby shuttle train loading facilities and to barge loading facilities on the Snake/Columbia River System. Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have more recently been keeping touch with our customers with the help of USW, through phone calls, emails, videos, virtual meetings and even through the WGC podcast which has listeners overseas.

WGC CEO Glen Squires (R) with a U.S. wheat customer from Southeast Asia during the 2019 wheat harvest in Eastern Washington.

What is happening lately in Washington that overseas customers should know about?

Club wheat, which is a sub class of soft white wheat, has received increased attention thanks to an initiative with the Japanese. Technical exchange between breeders and Japanese milling representatives has helped identify specific end-product quality needs. This kind of cooperation is crucial in terms of getting customers what they want. We also have dialogue with private breeding companies of the absolute necessity of releasing high quality varieties. Our Preferred Wheat Variety brochure helps in that process.

Washington wheat farmers are actively tending to the wheat crop as they do every year to ensure the highest quality wheat is available for our customers. Field work is underway, equipment is being maintained and the crop is being tended in this moment of COVID-19 distancing protocols. Wheat breeders are actively working on new varieties and wheat variety quality testing efforts remain a key focus. The grain handling systems, including the railroads and river barge system, are fully operational as well. There are no delays in providing our overseas customers with high quality grain to meet their needs.

Learn more about the Washington Grain Commission on its website and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A 2018 USW Trade Delegation from the Philippines visited the Washington Grain Commission and met with several farmers.

Randy Suess, retired Washington wheat farmer and 2011/12 USW Chairman, traveled to several countries with USW including Yemen where this picture was taken. Read more about Randy’s experiences here.

Tsung-Yuan (John) Lin (R) a U.S. wheat customer from Taiwan in Washington with Washington Grain Commission staff in a soft white wheat field.

Washington wheat farmer Mike Carstensen was a member of the 2018 USW Board team that traveled to North Asia, including to this visit to a Chinese bakery.

 

Washington wheat farmer Gary Bailey was a member of the 2016 USW Board team that traveled to Japan and Korea.

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Oregon Wheat Commission
USW Member since 1980

Location: Portland, Oregon
Classes of wheat grown: 
Soft White (SW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard Red Winter (HRW)
USW Leadership: 
William L. Hulse, 1981/82 Chairman; Stan Timmermann, 1993/94 Chairman; Darren Padget, incoming 2020/2021 Chairman

The Oregon Wheat Commission works to enhance the profitability of Oregon wheat growers by communicating, educating, assuring markets and conducting and stimulating research. Oregon grows primarily soft white (SW) wheat in the vast expanses of Eastern Oregon, and in the lush Willamette River Valley.

Photo from “Kernels and Chaff; A History of Wheat Market Development.” Read more about this history here.

Why is export market development important to Oregon wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW?

About 10% of Oregon wheat is used domestically, therefore most of our marketing efforts are focused on overseas markets. Oregon SW wheat is low-moisture with excellent milling results, providing a whiter and brighter product for making Asian-style noodles. It is also ideal for exquisite cakes, pastries and other confectionery products.

With closer proximity to Pacific Rim markets and their high importance to Oregon wheat growers, our state is also home to the USW West Coast Office, as well as the Wheat Marketing Center — the education and research bridge connecting growers and customers.

How have Oregon wheat farmers recently interacted with overseas customers?

Oregon Wheat was proud to help host a recent reception welcoming Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). The group came to Portland to commemorate the successful conclusion of the trade negotiations and to renew its connection with the U.S. wheat industry.

Mr. Yusaku Hirakata, MAFF, and Darren Padget, Oregon wheat farmer and USW 2019/20 Vice Chairman.

Many of our Oregon representatives travel throughout the year to various trade missions as well as host customers in our state.

What is happening lately in Oregon that overseas customers should know about?

  • Commitment to Quality: Oregon Wheat continues to invest in research and development in wheat breeding programs, at Oregon State University and the USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, focusing on high quality wheat varieties to support our customers and the end use of our wheat product.
  • A Focus on Long-Term Sustainability: Pacific Northwest published Best Management Practices and our growers’ production practices involve a high use of certified seed and agronomic practices to meet quality and sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) requirements.
  • Leading Innovations: Investment into the Resilient Dryland Farming Initiative (RDFI) at the Columbia Basin Ag Research Center supports adaptation of farming practices in low rainfall areas.
  • Supporting the Multi-Modal Transportation System: Oregon Wheat continues efforts to maintain and enhance critical infrastructure, with a particular focus on the Columbia-Snake River dams. The Columbia Snake River System is the nation’s single largest wheat export gateway and each year nearly 10% of all U.S. wheat exports move by barge on the Snake River. In partnership with Idaho, Montana and Washington, Oregon Wheat is highlighting the importance of the river system’s navigation to our federal and state partners. View the Oregon Wheat Growers League website for more information.

Learn more about the Oregon Wheat Commission on its website here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Oregon Wheat commissioner Jason Middleton (United Grain Corporation) and USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer at the 2020 Introduction to Flour Milling short course at the IGP Institute.

A Contracting for Wheat Value Delegation from China at Darren Padget’s farm.

Oregon Wheat commissioner Walter Powell (white shirt, middle, back row) participated on the 2019 South Asia Board Team to the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia.

USW led five representatives of the Taipei Bakers Association and three officials from Taiwan’s Department of Public Health on a trade team to Oregon in late April 2018.

Attendees from the 2016 USW Latin America Buyer’s Conference visited Darren Padget’s farm.

USW Director of Communications Amanda Spoo visited Darren Padget’s farm in October 2019 to lead a video shoot that will focus on U.S. wheat farm families and the U.S. wheat supply chain.

Jeff Newtson says precision agriculture helps his family produce a more consistent soft white wheat crop for overseas buyers. Jeff’s father, Bob Newtson, has served on the USW Board of Directors for several years. Learn more about their production here.

Outgoing Oregon Wheat CEO Blake Rowe presenting at the 2018 USW Latin American Buyer’s Conference in Brazil.

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By Michael Anderson, Assistant Director, USW West Coast Office

This river in general is very handsome, except at the rapid, where it is risking both life and property to pass.” – From the Journal of Sgt. Patrick Gass, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

It is 3:00 on a brisk and overcast Tuesday afternoon, the sun is already low in the sky. I am sitting in the galley of a tugboat — state of the art I am told. With five staterooms, a kitchen, washer/dryer and even a weight room, the tug has all the amenities any crew would need. There is some tension on board, with a hurry-up-and-wait attitude, when the phone finally rings. The deck mechanic answers, the barge we are waiting on is finally loaded with 1,500 metric tons (MT) of soft white wheat. The motor hums to life and we start moving, slowly, toward the grain elevator. It is growing dark as two grain barges are tethered together and we start down river from Lewiston, Idaho, headed to Portland, Ore. It will be a two-and-a-half-day journey first down the Snake River, connecting to the Columbia River and finally to the Willamette River, to reach our Portland export elevator destinations, about 360 miles in all.

Michael Anderson (front left) with the crew of the tugboat crew.

We are following the same route that Lewis and Clark took as the “Corps of Discovery” traveled west. The rivers were different in 1805, untamed by today’s intricate system of dams and locks. The eight dams that we will pass through have made it possible to harness the rivers into a major artery carrying U.S. wheat bound for export from farm to port.

The boat rocks side to side on my first night. It is comfortable but the unfamiliar feeling makes it hard to settle in. Suddenly the boat lurches and the light outside gets brighter. From the deck the first lock, Lower Granite, comes into view. Two spot lights illuminate our way as we creep up to the lock. Slowly we approach the brightly lit lock and are guided in along a long concrete wall. The force of the shallow water beneath us is the only thing that keeps the tug and barges moving forward. With inches to spare on either side we have entered the lock. Behind the boat a gate rises from underneath the water; it is three feet or so above the surface when suddenly the gate stops rising and our boat starts sinking below the surface. It is a rapid movement, but it goes on for a long time. The water mark gets higher above us as we literally sink below the surface, protected by thick concrete walls. Finally, we stop moving. We are now 100 feet below the level at which we entered the lock. I walk to the front of the boat just in time to see the gates in front, towering above us, start to open revealing the river ahead, and slowly we make our way out of the lock and down the river.

Being a crew member aboard a tug, your day is not a simple “9-to-5” or even 24 hours for that matter. With one crew on and one crew off, the day is broken into shifts of six hours each, from 12 to 6 and 6 to 12. The environment shared by the crew is family like, cooking meals together and watching TV. Only the person driving the boat, the captain or the pilot, is constantly on watch. The deck mechanics jump into action when the boat enters a lock or when we pick up another barge, and this journey is a four-barge tow, meaning four barges being pushed by one tugboat.

From the bridge the captain has a sweeping view on all sides and plenty of sophisticated equipment helps him navigate even when we are surrounded by fog, which in the Pacific Northwest is common. Another lock is just ahead. The boat only moves about nine miles per hour. With precision we fit into the lock, again with just a foot on each side to separate us from the massive concrete walls. Unlike the lock last night, this lock is too short to fit the whole tow in at once but that is nothing out of the ordinary for this crew. Once the barges are tethered in place, the captain skillfully maneuvers the tugboat like a game of Tetris into a tiny space giving the back of the boat just enough room for the lock keeper to close us in. Again, a large iron gate rises from the water behind us and like an elevator we start moving down inch by inch. In front is what looks like a massive garage door. The lock opens revealing the next stretch of the river ahead.

The mechanics of the lock are simple: we are moving down river with the flow of the water so when we enter a lock it is full of water. The lock is sealed behind us and a valve is released to allow the water around us to rush out of the lock. The tow itself is being moved to the same level as the river we are moving down. Once the tow is at the same level as the water outside the lock, the valve is closed and we wait for the massive concrete door ahead of us to open so the tow can move out. For ships going up river, against the flow, it is a similar procedure but instead of the valve releasing water, the valve fills the lock. It takes about 30 minutes to pass through each lock.

The Columbia Snake River System is a super highway of sorts for moving wheat and other agricultural products from farm to market. The rivers move 53% of all U.S. wheat bound for export. The ability to move such a large volume of grain efficiently makes the river system a very cost-effective and “green” logistical option. The lock system is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers; its history goes back to the 1930’s when President Franklin Roosevelt personally inaugurated Bonneville, the first of the eight dams and locks east of Portland.

After about 60 hours on board the tugboat, we arrive in Vancouver, Wash., on the north bank of the Columbia River. We drop two of the barges at an export elevator and proceed west again, up the north-flowing Willamette River that bisects Portland. It is my third river in a week and we are taking the final barge to an export elevator just across the river from the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) West Coast Office. There is a vessel at berth waiting for the wheat we have been carrying. The crew drops the barge, and me, at the elevator. I walk up a set of metal stairs connected to a hoist and hop off, touching land for the first time since Tuesday. I walk across the river on Portland’s Steel Bridge, under which the wheat from our tow will pass on its way overseas, to my office.

Michael Anderson grew up in Texas and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Baylor University and a master’s degree in International Agriculture from Oklahoma State University. In the Peace Corps, he served in Armenia and with the Carter Center served as a technical advisor for the Guinea Worm Eradication Program with the South Sudan Ministry of Health. Anderson served as a trade intern with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington D.C. Before joining USW in July 2018, he was International Marketing Program Coordinator for Food Export Association of the Northeast, which like USW is a member of the public-private partnership with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export market development programs.

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Pacific Northwest (PNW) farmers produced another fine soft white wheat (SW) and white club (WC) crop with good test weight and very acceptable finished product characteristics for 2019. Adequate soil moisture at planting and throughout the growing season did contribute to higher moisture and protein content compared to 2018 but protein remained lower than the 5-year average. In fact, the higher SW protein segment provides opportunities in blends for crackers, Asian noodles, steamed breads, flat breads, and pan breads. Variations in performance data for 2019 compared to 2018 and the 5-year averages are included below for this 6.09 million metric ton (MMT) crop, including 170,000 MT of WC.

That is a summary of results from the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) 2019 SW and WC crop quality analysis to be posted soon at https://www.uswheat.org/market-and-crop-information/crop-quality/. To complete the analysis, the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) received and tested SW and WC samples from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) graded and ran wheat protein on each sample. WMC conducted wheat, flour, Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC), dough, and finished product tests on composites based on production zones and protein levels. Funding for the annual survey come from state wheat commission USW members and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

As always, buyers are encouraged to review their quality specifications to ensure that their purchases meet their expectations.

Wheat and Grade Data: The Overall average grade of the 2019 SW and WC crops is U.S. No. 1. The average SW test weight of 61.6 lb/bu (81.0 kg/hl) is slightly lower than last year’s 61.7 lb/bu (81.1 kg/hl); WC test weight of 60.6 lb/bu (79.7 kg/hl) is slightly higher than 2018’s 60.4 lb/bu (79.5 kg/hl). SW has fewer damaged kernels, fewer shrunken and broken kernels, and less foreign material than the 5-year averages. WC shrunken and broken kernel percentages are lower than last year and the 5-year averages. WC foreign material is higher than last year and 5-year averages. WC dockage is slightly higher than last year and the 5-year averages. Other WC grade factors are similar to past averages. Wheat moisture for both SW and WC is above last year and the 5-year averages.

The Overall SW and WC wheat protein content (12% mb) of 10.0 and 9.8%, respectively, are 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points above the respective 2018 values, but below those of 5-year averages. SW and WC wheat ash contents (14% moisture basis) are similar to last year and the 5-year averages. Thousand kernel weight for SW is above 2018 and the 5-year average levels; WC is lower than last year and higher than the 5-year average. SW kernel diameter is the same as last year, but larger than the 5-year average. WC kernel diameter is smaller than last year, but larger than the 5-year average. Falling number values are 317 sec for SW and 355 sec for WC.

Flour, Dough, and Bake Data: The 2019 Buhler Laboratory Mill flour extraction average for SW and WC at 72.1% and 72.8% respectively are lower than last year and the 5-year averages. Flour protein content (14% mb) is 8.9% for both SW and WC. Flour ash content (14% mb) for both SW and WC are higher than last year but the same as 5-year averages. Amylograph peak viscosity value for SW is 485 BU, slightly lower than last year; WC is 523 BU, much higher than last year. Starch damage value is slightly higher for SW than last year but lower than the 5-year averages. WC starch damage is lower than last year and the 5-year averages.

Solvent retention capacity (SRC) water values for SW and WC are less than last year and 5-year averages. SW lactic acid and sodium carbonate values are similar to last year and the 5-year averages. WC lactic acid values are higher than last year, but same as 5-year average. SW and WC gluten performance index (GPI) values are similar to last year and 5-year averages. SW farinograph peak and stability times are shorter than last year and the 5-year averages. WC peak time is slightly longer than last year and 5-year averages. SW and WC water absorptions are similar to last year, but less than the 5-year averages. The SW and WC alveograph L values are considerably longer than last year and 5-year averages. SW and WC extensograph resistance is larger than last year and the 5-year averages. SW and WC extensibility values are longer than last year and the 5-year averages.

Sponge cake volume for SW at 1104 cc is larger than last year, but smaller than the 5-year average, and the total score is slightly lower than last year and the 5-year averages. The sponge cake volume for WC at 1141 cc is slightly larger than last year, but smaller than the 5-year average, and total score the same as last year and much higher than the 5-year averages. SW and WC cookie diameter values are smaller than last year, but similar to the 5-year averages. SW and WC cookie spread factors are more than last year and the 5-year averages.

Chinese Southern-Type Steamed Bread: In southern-type steamed bread compared to a control flour, the 2019 SW and WC specific volumes are slightly less than last year and the 5-year averages. The SW total score is higher than last year and the 5-year averages; WC is the same as last year, but lower than the 5-year average.

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Every year, several trade delegations of overseas buyers, millers, bakers and government officials visit the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Its proximity to many stops along the wheat supply chain allows customers to witness the reliability and transparency of the U.S. grain marketing system firsthand. This includes Padget Ranches, on the arid Columbia Plateau above the John Day River, where Darren Padget’s family has farmed since 1910. As one of many U.S. farm families who contribute to the wholesome quality of U.S. wheat for dozens of food products around the world, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) traveled to Oregon to include Padget’s story and the PNW supply chain in a video it is producing. With previous visits to Kansas, Ohio, Washington state, North Dakota and Oklahoma the project will be completed in 2020 and include additional farm families and information about the U.S. wheat supply system.

 

Darren Padget

Darren Padget stops for an interview during seeding.

Today, Darren farms with his wife Brenda and their son Logan, as well as his dad Dale, a retired wheat farmer who recently participated in his 67th wheat harvest. Their dryland wheat and summer fallow rotation currently produces registered and certified seed on 3,400 acres annually. Darren started his involvement in wheat leadership with the Oregon Wheat Grower’s League and the National Association of Wheat Growers, before being appointed to the Oregon Wheat Commission by the state’s Director of Agriculture. Currently, he serves on the USW Board of Directors as Vice Chairman and is slated to serve as Chairman in 2020/21.

Darren Padget and USW Director of Communications Amanda Spoo

USW and the video crew also visited United Grain Corporation (UGC) in Vancouver, Wash., to speak with UGC President and CEO Augusto Bassanini – a long-time friend of USW – and capture footage of the receiving and export process at UGC’s export terminal. The team’s final stop on this trip was at the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) in Portland, Ore., to capture footage demonstrating the U.S. wheat industry’s differential advantage in its effort to consistent meet high quality grain standards.

USW with its video crew and creative agency, 502, at United Grain Corporation.

Capturing barge and rail footage along the Columbia River.

USW wants to thank Oregon Wheat’s Chief Executive Officer Blake Rowe and Director of Communications Shanna Hamilton for their help and participation in this project, as well as UGC and FGIS staff for hosting us at their facilities. And many thanks to the Padget family for graciously taking the time out of their day to share their story and welcome us to their ranch.

Federal Grain Inspection Service

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By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

Despite challenging market factors, U.S. wheat exports for marketing year (MY) 2018/19, which ended May 31, totaled 25.8 million metric tons (MMT) (948 million bushels), in line with USDA’s adjusted export volume estimate. That is 9% ahead of MY 2017/18 and 1% ahead of the 5-year average of 25.5 MMT (937 million bushels). Commercial sales of all classes of wheat in MY 2018/19 exceeded 2017/18 levels due to abundant exportable supplies, excellent harvest qualities, competitive export prices and sustained service from U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) representatives supported by its state commissions and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service programs. This offset the bearish factors including a strong U.S. dollar, competitor’s advantages, uncertainty about U.S. trade policies and difficult inland transportation logistics.

Hard Red Winter. USDA reported hard red winter (HRW) 2018/19 sales totaled 9.40 MMT (345 million bushels), 1% above 2017/18 and 1% above the 5-year average of 9.30 MMT (342 million bushels). Customers took advantage of the highest quality HRW crop in several years at attractive export prices compared to 2017/18. Out of the Gulf, between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2019, the average export price of U.S. HRW 12.0 protein (12% moisture basis) cost $227/metric ton (MT) compared to $257/MT over the same period in 2018. Sales to Mexico and Nigeria were up 6% and 36% respectively, while sales to Japan were down 6%. Sales to Mexico totaled 2.15 MMT (79.0 million bushels), 44% above the 5-year average of 1.49 MMT (55.0 million bushels), once again making Mexico the top HRW buyer. Commercial sales to Iraq, now the fourth-largest consumer of U.S. HRW, were in line with 2017/18 levels at 674,000 metric tons (MT) (24.7 million bushels).

Soft Red Winter. 2018/19 soft red winter (SRW) sales increased 33% year-over-year to 3.33 MMT (123 million bushels), still 14% below the 5-year average of 3.92 MMT (144 million bushels) despite difficult inland transportation logistical issues due to major flooding on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The 2018/19 SRW crop boasted higher protein levels and good extensibility, making it a valuable blending ingredient for cookies and cakes. A steady decline in SRW futures prices between mid-December 2018 and mid-May 2019 encouraged strong commercial sales to top SRW-importing regions. Export sales to three of the top five SRW purchasers increased or remained steady compared to 2017/18. Sales to Mexico, the top importer of U.S. SRW, increased 25% over last year to 917,000 MT (33.6 million bushels) and sales to Peru, the fifth-largest importer of U.S. SRW, increased 13% over last year to 175,000 MT (6.46 million bushels). Export sales to Nigeria held strong at 272,000 MT (9.96 million bushels).

Hard Red Spring. By the end of MY 2018/19, hard red spring (HRS) export sales totaled 7.15 MMT (263 million bushels), 16% ahead of last year’s pace, despite a 94% decrease in commercial sales to China, formerly the fourth-largest importer of U.S. HRS. A 60% year-over-year increase in HRS production, at 16.0 MMT (588 million bushels), higher ending stocks, high protein content and competitive export prices all supported export sales. Gulf exports of HRS 14.0 protein between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2019, cost, on average, $263/MT compared to $305/MT over the same period in 2018. Seven of the country’s top ten HRS-importing partners increased commercial sales year over year. Commercial sales to the Philippines, the top importer of U.S. HRS, jumped to 1.85 MMT (68.0 million bushels) in 2018/19, 39% ahead of last year and 38% ahead of the 5-year average of 1.34 MMT (49.2 million bushels).

White wheat. Total commercial sales of soft white (SW) and hard white (HW) wheat climbed to 5.45 MMT (200 million bushels) in 2018/19, which includes about 165,000 MT of HW sales to Nigeria. That is slightly ahead of last year’s pace and 21% ahead of the 5-year average of 4.51 MMT (166 million bushels) due to increased production, increased exportable supplies and below-average protein levels compared to years prior. Sales to the Philippines and Japan, the top two importers of U.S. SW, respectively, increased 13% and 7% over 2017/18 levels. The Philippines purchased 1.32 MMT (48.9 million bushels) of SW compared to 1.17 MMT (43.0 million bushels) in 2017/18. White wheat sales to Japan increased to 889,000 MT (32.7 million bushels) compared to 829,000 MT (30.4 million bushels) in 2017/18.

Durum. USDA reported 2018/19 durum sales at 504,000 MT (19.8 million bushels), up 24% from the year prior, but 12% below the 5-year average of 573,000 MT (21.0 million bushels). Increased production, high protein content, excellent kernel characteristics and competitive prices throughout the marketing year all supported northern durum export levels. Increased sales to four of the five top markets for U.S. durum boosted export figures. The European Union (EU) purchased 290,000 MT (10.7 million bushels) of U.S. durum in 2018/19, up 71% year-over-year following a drought that cut production in many EU countries.

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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.

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Timely and adequate moisture through the soft white (SW) and white club (WC) growing season and a transition to a warm, dry harvest helped Pacific Northwest (PNW) farmers produce high-quality crops that will provide an excellent range of flour for finished products. The high-protein segment of the SW crop also provides opportunities in blends for Asian noodles, steamed breads, flat breads and pan breads.

USDA estimates total 2018 PNW SW production at 6.03 million metric tons (MMT), up slightly from 2017’s 5.64 MMT. Of that, the Washington Grain Commission estimates white club (WC) accounts for 370 metric tons (MT).

Here is a summary of the season and test results, with full data available online soon and in upcoming USW Crop Quality Seminars.

Wheat and Grade Data: The overall average grade of the 2018 SW and WC crops is U.S. No. 1. The average SW test weight of 61.7 lb/bu (81.1 kg/hl) is higher than last year’s 60.9 lb/bu (80.1 kg/hl); WC test weight of 60.4 lb/bu (79.5 kg/hl) is slightly higher than 2017’s 60.2 lb/bu (79.2 kg/hl). With slight variation, SW and WC grade factors are similar to last year and the 5-year averages. Wheat moisture for both SW and WC is below last year and the 5-year averages, reflecting the dry harvest conditions.

The overall SW and WC wheat protein content (12 percent mb) of 9.3 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively, are 0.3 and 0.4 percentage points below the respective 2017 values and well below the wheat protein 5-year averages. SW wheat ash content (14 percent mb) is slightly higher than last year and the 5-year average; WC wheat ash is higher than last year and the 5-year average. Thousand kernel weights for SW and WC are slightly above 2017 and 5-year average levels. Both SW and WC kernel diameters are slightly larger than last year and the 5-year averages. Falling number values are 315 seconds for SW and 316 seconds for WC are both below last year and the 5-year averages.

Flour and Dough Data: The 2018 SW crop Buhler Laboratory Mill flour extraction average of 72.5 percent is lower than last year and the 5-year average; the WC average of 76.9 percent is higher than last year and the 5-year average. Flour protein content (14 percent mb) is 8.3 percent and 8.0 percent for SW and WC, respectively. Flour ash content (14 percent mb) for both SW and WC is slightly higher than last year, but lower than the 5-year averages. Amylograph peak viscosity value for SW is 497 BU, slightly higher than last year and for WC is 415 BU, lower than last year. Starch damage values are slightly higher for SW and WC than last year, but lower than the 5-year averages. SW and WC solvent retention capacity (SRC) water values are similar to last year and the 5-year averages. SW sucrose and sodium carbonate values are similar to last year, but lower than the 5-year average. SW and WC lactic acid values are higher than last year, but lower than the 5-year averages. SW gluten performance index (GPI) is higher than last year and the 5-year average, and WC GPI is slightly lower than last year and the 5-year average. SW and WC farinograph peak and stability times are close to last year’s and the 5-year averages, while water absorption is higher than last year for SW and the same as last year for WC. The SW and WC alveograph L values are considerably longer than last year and the 5-year averages. SW and WC extensograph resistance is similar to last year and higher than the 5-year averages. SW extensibility value is longer than last year and the 5-year average and WC extensibility is similar to last year and shorter than the 5-year average.

Bake Data: Sponge cake volume for SW at 1066 cc is smaller than last year and the 5-year averages, and the total score is slightly higher than last year and the 5-year average. The sponge cake volume for WC at 1115 cc is smaller than last year and the 5-year average, and total score is higher than last year and the 5-year average. SW and WC cookie diameter values are larger than last year and the 5-year averages. SW and WC cookie spread factors are less than last year and the 5-year averages.

Chinese Southern-Type Steamed Bread: Each flour was made into southern-type steamed bread and compared to a control flour. SW specific volume is the same as last year and the 5-year average. WC specific volume is slightly higher than last year, but slightly lower than the 5-year average. The SW and WC total scores are lower than last year and the 5-year averages.