U.S. wheat farm families grow six distinct classes of wheat across the diverse landscape of the United States. Those farmers take great care in producing the highest quality wheat in the most sustainable ways possible to honor their family legacies and to ensure greater value for their customers at home and abroad. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people.

Hucke Farms: Angie and Will Hucke are third generation farmers and ranchers from Geraldine, about 40 miles (65 km) east of Great Falls in Montana’s “Golden Triangle,” where they grow winter wheat, spring wheat, hay barley and occasionally rotate in yellow peas. Previously, Angie had a corporate job and opted to leave that lifestyle to return to the family farm. Part of returning to the family farm meant being involved in their community and raising their son, Arrow (11) and daughter, Jetta (9) in an environment where they learn about “hard work, taking pride in a job well down and learning that work can be fun.” This year, Arrow drove the grain cart – his first time helping with harvest, and it was clear how excited and proud he was. Both are very involved in 4-H, rodeo and helping with chores on the farm.

Location: Geraldine, Mont.
Classes of Wheat Grown:  Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Hard Red Spring (HRS)
Leadership: Angie Hucke: President, Miss Rodeo Montana, Inc; Vice President, Geraldine Action Committee; emergency medical technician (EMT); and 4-H leader. Will Hucke: Captain, Geraldine Volunteer Fire Department; Board Member, Chouteau County Livestock Protective Association; high school girls basketball coach; and 4-H leader. Arrow Hucke: Vice President, Willing Workers 4-H Club; and Treasurer, Geraldine Middle School. Jetta Hucke: Reporter, Willing Workers 4H Club.

View other videos and stories in this series:

Stories from the Wheat Farm – The Next Generation in Kansas
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Loving the Work in Ohio
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Committed to Stewardship in Washington
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Living with Purpose in North Dakota
Stories from the Wheat Farm – A Passion for the Land in Oklahoma
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Committed to Wheat Quality in Oregon


By Shelbi Knisley, USW Director of Trade Policy

Last week, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) submitted comments to the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on the importance of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation to U.S. wheat producers.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) describes TPA this way: “Since 1974, Congress has enacted TPA legislation that defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the President to follow throughout the negotiation process. At the end of the negotiation and consultation process, Congress gives the agreement an up or down vote, without amendment. TPA reaffirms Congress’s overall constitutional role in the development and oversight of U.S. trade policy.”

TPA is important in securing free trade agreements (FTAs) by establishing a known, reliable process for securing congressional approval of agreements negotiated by the executive branch. TPA has been vital for the growth of U.S. agriculture and future trade agreements, by maintaining competitiveness for U.S. wheat producers in the global market.

U.S. wheat producers have benefitted from several FTAs over the last several decades that were negotiated and approved through the TPA process. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was critical in developing the market for U.S. wheat in Mexico, which is now our number one export destination. USW also supported the updates to NAFTA, found in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which will address additional trade issues including an improved sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) chapter. This is a first-of-its-kind provision for regulating trade in goods developed using agricultural biotechnology and updated methods for resolving technical disputes. These provisions should help avoid future challenges that have the potential to disrupt U.S. wheat exports.

The U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement FTA is a virtual guarantee that tariffs will remain at zero for U.S. wheat. It entered into force in 2009, the same year as the Peru-Canada agreement. Both allowed immediate duty-free access to Peru’s wheat market. Peru’s overall wheat imports have grown from 1.4 million metric tons (MMT) before the agreement to 2.2 MMT in 2019/20. The U.S. market share is around 20 percent. Argentina and Russia also compete in Peru, which now applies zero duties for all wheat imports.

Grain trade is a high volume, low-margin business. Even relatively small tariff differences can have a detrimental impact on both suppliers and importing industries. Wheat trade can be highly affected by quality, and U.S. wheat tends to be among the highest quality globally. However, quality is not free, and an importer may decide that the value advantage of U.S. wheat is not worth the additional cost of the duty if an alternative origin receives improved market access. Predictable market access and a level playing field are therefore top priorities for USW.

Trade Promotion Authority is a key tool for securing new FTAs. While trade agreements negotiated under TPA do not guarantee success in a market, they have a strong track record of playing an important role in expanding and maintaining access for U.S. wheat producers.

For more details and to read about other FTA’s impacts on U.S. wheat exports, USW comments to USITC can be found here.


Recent news and highlights from around the wheat industry.

Speaking of Wheat.I think it is important to say that one of the first shipments of food aid our organization made was in 1961 after an earthquake in Northern Iran, and it was 1,500 metric tons of U.S. wheat.” – Jane Shey, Senior Policy Consultant, World Food Program USA, in a presentation to the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Food Aid Working Group.

On the Passing of Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh. The legendary Kansas State University professor and agricultural policy expert died on Nov. 2. Though perhaps not as well-known by international wheat buyers, Dr. Flinchbaugh’s influence on U.S. agricultural policy and on many wheat growers and wheat industry leaders have certainly influenced U.S. agricultural trade relationships. USW Vice President of Policy Dalton Henry was taught by and served as a teaching assistant with Dr. Flinchbaugh at Kansas State. He recently told Kansas Wheat that, “I owe an awful lot … to the good doctor. The world will sorely miss his willingness to call it like he saw it, refusal to give in to petty politics and his belief in the students who took his class.” USW extends its sympathy to Dr. Flinchbaugh’s family and his many friends and past students.

Record Production…Record Consumption. USW published its latest Supply and Demand Report Nov. 10, reporting that USDA expects record world wheat production of 772 million metric tons (MMT) in 2020/21. Consumption continues its record setting trend with USDA now seeing 753 MMT of wheat use. See the entire USW report here.

2021 IGP Institute Milling Courses. The IGP Institute in Manhattan, Kan., has several upcoming flour milling courses in 2021. Courses in this curriculum cover all aspects of the flour milling process from grain selection to finished products. Courses will explore many areas including; technical milling, mill management practices, quality control, food safety, flowsheet design, process automation and controls, process efficiencies, hard and soft wheat milling, maintenance and more. More information and registration available here.

Subscribe to USW Reports. USW publishes a variety of reports and content that are available to subscribe to, including a bi-weekly newsletter highlighting recent Wheat Letter blog posts, the weekly Price Report and the weekly Harvest Report (available May to October). Subscribe here.

Follow USW Online. Visit our Facebook page at for the latest updates, photos and discussions of what is going on in the world of wheat. Also, find breaking news on Twitter, video stories on Vimeo and more on LinkedIn.



Major organizations supporting the U.S. commitment to international food aid this week confirmed that U.S. wheat remains their most donated crop for monetization and feeding assistance. Representatives from World Food Program (WFP) USA, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Food Assistance Division of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service provided that information at a meeting of the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Food Aid Working Group Nov. 10.

WFP USA is the U.S.-based organization associated with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

USAID “leads the U.S. Government’s international development and disaster assistance through partnerships and investments that save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people emerge from humanitarian crises and progress beyond assistance.”

FAS’s non-emergency food aid programs help meet recipients’ nutritional needs and support agricultural development and education. These food assistance programs, combined with trade capacity building efforts, support long-term economic development and help countries make the transition from food aid recipient to commercial buyer.

At the meeting, Rebecca Middleton, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, and Jane Shey, Senior Policy Consultant with WFP USA noted that U.S. farmer engagement is very important to the organization’s mission, which relies heavily on both public and private donations. Shey acknowledged wheat farmers and the USW Food Aid Working Group specifically.

“I think it is important to say that one of the first shipments of food aid our organization made was in 1961 after an earthquake in Northern Iran, and it was 1,500 metric tons of U.S. wheat,” she said.

Katie McKenna, Policy and Program Coordinator Officer with USAID, reported that USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) has procured 697,280 metric tons of U.S. wheat, including a small amount of flour, in fiscal year 2020. That represents nearly 47 percent of all commodities purchased by BHA and makes wheat the largest commodity used in emergency and non-emergency food assistance. Of that total, more than 58 percent was in-kind soft white wheat destined for Yemen. The organization also sent U.S. hard red winter wheat and flour to Ethiopia (41.7 percent of the total) and Djibouti.

The USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) relies heavily on U.S. wheat for in-kind food donations.

Unfortunately, there is no let-up in the need for food assistance in the world.

“Food security is not improving,” McKenna said. “Natural disasters, conflicts and now the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the vulnerability of millions. Yemen is the best example and I believe our agency and the World Food Programme are doing heroic work providing and distributing food for 8.2 million people there.”

In fact, on Nov. 6, USAID announced that it intends to grant $20 million to the WFP to purchase approximately 65,600 metric tons of wheat for the people of Sudan to help alleviate shortages of flour and bread in the Khartoum region.



By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

USDA currently estimates the United States will export 26.5 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat in 2020/21, 1 percent ahead of last year’s pace, if realized. Five months into marketing year (MY) 2020/21, total U.S. wheat commercial sales are 12 percent ahead of last year’s pace at 16.8 MMT and are 15 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

To date, export sales of hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and white wheat (soft and hard) are significantly ahead of last year’s pace. Sales of soft red winter (SRW) and durum lag 2019/20. Success in individual markets such as China and Brazil due to policy changes and follow-on trade and technical service by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are supporting overall sales. As in other markets, competitive pricing for U.S. wheat early in MY 2020/21 helped fuel a faster import pace even by traditionally strong U.S. wheat buyers like the Philippines and South Korea.

HRW. Total HRW sales are 12 percent ahead of last year at 6.12 MMT. Stable exports to Mexico, Nigeria and Japan, the top three markets for HRW, and significantly stronger export programs to China and Brazil are supporting HRW sales in the first third of MY 2020/21.

As of Oct. 29, China has purchased 981,000 metric tons (MT) of HRW after no purchases in 2019/20. Strong HRW export sales so far in 2020/21 can be attributed to the Phase One agreement between the United States and China, as well as competitive HRW prices early in the marketing year. So far in MY 2020/21, China is the second largest market for HRW behind Mexico.

HRW export sales to Brazil are nearly two times more than this time last year at 513,000 MT and are 49 percent ahead of the 5-year average. According to Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director, South America, the opportunity to advance sales to Brazil came with the Brazilian government opening a tariff rate quota (TRQ) allowing up to 750,000 MT of non-Mercosur (South America’s free trade bloc) wheat to enter the country tariff-free. Strong USW educational programs in Brazil are encouraging millers to take advantage of the high quality and competitive prices of U.S. wheat. To date, Brazil is the fifth largest market for HRW.

“USW provides the best trade and technical service to our customers and we are here for Brazilian mills for any need they have,” said Galdos.

Source: USDA FAS export sales data as of Oct. 29, 2020

HRS. Total HRS export sales of 4.72 MMT are 15 percent ahead of this time last year and are 8 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Sales to the Philippines, the top market for HRS, are 22 percent ahead of last year at 1.30 MMT and are 34 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Rising per capita consumption combined with population growth and competitive HRS prices early in the marketing year supported strong sales to the Philippines at the start of 2020/21.

In Japan, the second largest market for HRS, sales of 569,000 MT are up 20 percent on the year.

“We had good start this year in the Japanese market following the U.S. and Japan trade agreement implemented on January 1,” said Rick Nakano, USW Country Director, Japan. “This gives U.S. wheat a better opportunity to be traded on equal footing with similar classes of wheat from Canada. This results is a great outcome for U.S. wheat to compete equally again with Canadian wheat to meet the needs of Japan’s flour millers.”

Source: USDA FAS export sales data as of Oct. 29, 2020

White. Total U.S. white wheat sales are 41 percent ahead of this time in 2019/20 at 4.02 MMT and are 36 percent ahead of the 5-year average. In the Philippines, the largest market for U.S. soft white wheat, export sales are up 42 percent on the year and are 40 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

The increased demand by Philippine millers is partially due to early customer buying in response to tight export elevation capacity in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Strong USW educational programs in the Philippines helped customers stay informed and make timely buying decisions in the first third of MY 2020/21.

Sales to South Korea, the second largest market for U.S. soft white wheat, are 79 percent ahead of last year’s pace and are 53 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Soft white wheat on a C&F (FOB and freight) landed basis to South Korea has been priced very competitively.

Looking ahead, Australia’s larger 2020 crop is coming to market and its prices are coming down. USDA predicts the 2020/21 Australian wheat crop will reach 28.5 MMT this year, 87% ahead of last year as beneficial rains pull the country out of a three-year drought.

Source: USDA FAS export sales data as of Oct. 29, 2020

SRW export sales are a different story. Total SRW export sales are down 26 percent on the year at 1.36 MMT, 21 percent behind the 5-year average. SRW export sales to all of the country’s top 10 overseas markets are behind last year’s pace.

“SRW prices are just too high right now,” said one grain trader, “the United States is priced out of the world market, especially to our buyers in Latin America and Nigeria.”

Between early June and late October, the average export price for SRW was $233/MT, 12 percent higher than the same period last year. Limited exportable supplies of SRW along the Mississippi River due to lower planted area in key states and extremely tight export elevation capacity in the Center Gulf due to increased export demand for soybeans and corn continue to support SRW export prices early in MY 2020/21.

Durum. Year-to-date durum sales in 2020/21 are 19 percent behind last year’s pace at 541,000 MT but are 30 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Total sales to Italy, the largest market for U.S. durum, are only 3 percent behind last year’s pace, but are 66 percent ahead of the 5-year average.




By Shelbi Knisley, USW Director of Trade Policy

Last week U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) submitted comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the annual National Trade Estimates (NTE) report.

The NTE report allows U.S. industry organizations to highlight and comment on trade barriers impacting their trade opportunities to the U.S. government. USW highlighted several key U.S. wheat markets where there are many barriers in market access, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, export subsidies and domestic support. Two of these barriers are highlighted below.


India maintains a trade distorting market price support system that encourages domestic wheat production. This leads to distortion in the international market due to domestic crop size and price. When stocks are too large, India has a history of applying export subsidies to move these excess wheat supplies out of the country. If they were to comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and eliminate these subsidies it would create a more level playing field for U.S. wheat exports and increase U.S. wheat annual value of production by an estimated $516 million per year by 2028/29, according to a study by a Texas A&M University economist.


China has long been featured in USW NTE submissions with its violations of domestic support and TRQ policies. This year, both of those sections received substantial updates as China works toward compliance in the WTO case rulings and in implementing the Phase One agreement. When China joined the WTO, it agreed to an annual 9.64 million metric ton (MMT) tariff rate quota (TRQ) with a one percent duty but have always manipulated its administration to prevent proper use. USW is encouraged by the recent changes that have promoted extensive use of the TRQ this year but remains vigilant in monitoring the TRQ administration to ensure full compliance with the WTO ruling. That TRQ administration, coupled with real domestic support reforms, are key to unlocking the long-term potential of China’s wheat market for U.S. farmers and to providing consistent access to U.S. supplies for Chinese millers.

For more details and to read about trade barriers in other countries, USW comments to the USTR can be found here. USTR will use these comments to develop its annual NTE report to be released in early 2021.


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

USDA pegs 2020/21 world wheat production at a record 773 million metric tons (MMT), up 1% from last year and 3% above the 5-year average of 721 MMT. Total global supplies are forecast to reach a record 1,072 MMT, 2% more than last year. USDA projects significantly higher production in several of the world’s major exporting regions including Australia, Canada and Russia. Specifically, in Australia, production is expected to rebound 87% on the year to 28.5 MMT as favorable precipitation during the growing season pulled the country out of a severe, three-year drought. USDA estimates 2020/21 world wheat ending stocks will reach a record 321 MMT, up 7% from last year and 16% more than the 5-year average.

Higher global production and ending stocks are matched by increased global demand, lending confidence to the 26.5 MMT USDA forecast for the final 2020/21 U.S. wheat export volume. USDA expects total global consumption will reach a record 751 MMT this year, slightly higher than last year and 2% more than the 5-year average. Increased total global consumption is driven by a significant increase in human consumption which more than offsets reduced feed wheat use. Global human wheat consumption is expected to increase 2% on the year to a record 613 MMT. USDA expects global wheat trade to reach 190 MMT, slightly below last year’s record but 5% more than the 5-year average.


Recent news and highlights from around the wheat industry.

Speaking of Wheat.Many of the more exciting projects associated with sequencing the wheat genome are still in the toddler stages. More important than ever is minimizing or eliminating the tradeoff between yield and quality. Milling and baking have a tremendous stake in what comes from this research and have every reason to take a seat at the table in this exciting effort.” – Josh Sosland, Editor, Milling & Baking News in an Oct. 27 editorial in

Hybrid Wheat Research. Amir Ibrahim, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeder in Texas A&M’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, has spent the past seven years studying the hybridization of wheat in a partnership with Stephen Baenziger, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln small grains breeder. Read more at AgriLife Today.

Too Early to Speculate on GMO Wheat Variety. AgWeek reported that North Dakota State University agricultural economist Dr. Frayne Olson says it is simply too early in the approval process to see how the new variety, HB4, recently approved by the Argentine government, will affect international, national and regional wheat markets. Olson said there has not been any approval by importing countries thus far. Read more at AgWeek.

Grain Handler Rail Challenges Debated. Agri-Pulse covered a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee meeting this week focused in part on domestic rail service performance amid the rapid row crop harvest and significantly increased overseas demand. Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition said “service levels overall have been good” but he continues to hear about high rail rates and service performance issues. American Association of Railroads President and CEO Ian Jefferies testified that as “we’re getting into a peak season, we anticipate continually increasing volumes.” When it comes to rail service being on time, he said constant communication with grain handling customers is key. Read more at Agri-Pulse.

Subscribe to USW Reports. USW publishes a variety of reports and content that are available to subscribe to, including a bi-weekly newsletter highlighting recent Wheat Letter blog posts, the weekly Price Report and the weekly Harvest Report (available May to October). Subscribe here.

Follow USW Online. Visit our Facebook page at for the latest updates, photos and discussions of what is going on in the world of wheat. Also, find breaking news on Twitter, video stories on Vimeo and more on LinkedIn.



By Claire Hutchins, U.S. Wheat Associates Market Analyst

Persistent dryness is both a blessing and a curse to winter wheat farmers across the U.S. Plains states. Dry conditions accelerated the autumn row crop harvest, which allowed for quick planting and of hard red winter (HRW) wheat, but critically low subsoil moisture levels in states like Kansas and Colorado may leave producers more vulnerable to unpredictable winter weather. According to USDA, 41% of the crop for harvest in 2021 is in good to excellent condition, below some analysts’ average expectations of 53% and 15 points below this time last year.

Here is a look at winter wheat planting and development conditions by state.

Texas. HRW planting progress is right on schedule with 72% of the crop in the ground. While dryness persists in the Texas Panhandle, overall crop condition is in line with last year at 37% good to excellent. HRW planted area in the state is expected to increase for the 2020/21 crop. “We can attribute the increase in planted acres to improved prices and more favorable planting conditions,” said Darby Campsey, Director of Communications with the Texas Wheat Producers Board.

Kansas. Here, the HRW crop is 92% planted, 4 points ahead of this time last year. “Mid-September rains helped the early planted crop to emerge and come up pretty strong,” said Kansas State University Wheat and Forage Specialist Romulo Lollato, “but the crop planted after Oct. 5 is more hit or miss.” Kansas producers took advantage of dry autumn weather and a quick row crop harvest to accelerate rotational winter wheat planting. According to Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission, favorable harvest weather could increase Kansas winter wheat planted area year-over-year.

However, increased dryness throughout the state, particularly in the west, could challenge early winter wheat development. Excessive dryness at planting delays emergence and could delay every phase of crop development, said Lollato. Delayed crop development may push grain filling into hotter conditions, which has the potential to challenge test weight and yield. Producers are hoping for a mild winter and a cool spring with plenty of precipitation to boost the state’s yield potential. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the short term weather forecast in Kansas calls for moderate to heavy precipitation in southern Kansas, which would help early HRW development.

NOAA’s Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) predicts beneficial rainfall in southern Kansas, western Oklahoma and Northern Texas over the next few days.

“Pray for rain” in Colorado. About all the eastern third of Colorado, where most of the state’s winter wheat is grown, is under extreme drought. Two snowstorms between September and late October have been the “saving grace” for Colorado wheat producers. As of Oct. 25, USDA pegged Colorado’s HRW at 78% emerged, on track with last year and the 5-year average. “When you’re in a serious situation like this, any moisture is highly needed,” said Brad Erker, Executive Director of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee. However, only 24% of the state’s HRW is in good to excellent condition compared to 59% last year on extreme dryness. If drought persists through the winter, Colorado’s crop could suffer yield and test weight losses. Producers are hoping for solid winter precipitation which could revitalize critically low soil moisture levels and protect farmland from serious wind erosion.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows abnormal to exceptional dryness in predominant winter wheat growing regions from northern Texas to the U.S.-Canadian border.

Nebraska. As of Oct. 25, the state’s winter wheat planting campaign for harvest in 2021 was complete. “Dry conditions were a ‘double-edged sword’ for Nebraska. It helped with a quick row crop harvest and allowed traditional wheat areas to be planted quickly. But some producers waited to plant due to extremely dry conditions,” said Royce Schaneman, Executive Director of the Nebraska Wheat Board. An early row crop harvest, favorable weather and strong marketing conditions could lead to increased Nebraska HRW acreage year-over-year.

According to USDA, only 43% of the state’s winter wheat is in good to excellent condition, compared to 61% this time last year on persistent dryness through the late summer and autumn. Recent snowfall in the west helped alleviate drought concerns, but more is needed in the coming months. Producers are hoping for much needed snow across the state to help boost soil moisture levels and protect the crop through the winter.

Good news from South Dakota. Relative dryness in South Dakota is a welcome change compared to last year’s overly wet field conditions. “Going into the fall, following this year’s incredible harvest, there were tremendous weather and price incentives for producers to plant more winter wheat compared to last year,” said Reid Christopherson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission. Most of the state’s winter wheat went into the ground ahead of recent, beneficial snowstorms. As of Oct. 25, 80% of the state’s winter wheat is emerged and 77% of the crop is in good to excellent condition. Looking ahead, producers in southern South Dakota expect mild to warm temperatures that would help with soil moisture absorption and strong early crop growth before the winter.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will continue to monitor Great Plains winter wheat development in the coming months.


The 2020 northern durum crop is notably larger than last year due to a significant increase in planted area with trendline yields, and a dry, steady harvest. Along with increased production, buyers will be pleased with the improved quality of the 2020 crop, especially on factors routinely valued in contract specifications. The crop boasts high test weights, high vitreous kernel contents and falling numbers, improved semolina color and a much lower incidence of DON compared with recent years.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has posted the full 2020 Northern Durum Regional Report on its website here. USW previously reported on the 2020 Desert Durum® crop here, and posted the full 2020 Desert Durum® Regional Report and a Sacramento Valley Durum Report here and here, respectively.


Planting began in early May with slow initial progress due to cool conditions, but dry soils allowed for steady, accelerating progress with planting nearly complete by early June. Drought conditions eased with timely rains mid-season, boosting yield potential. Dry, warm conditions late-season accelerated crop maturity and limited disease pressures.

Harvest began in early August and progressed steadily on favorable weather until completed, ahead of average and well ahead of last year. Regional production is estimated at 1.7 million metric tons (MMT), up nearly 30% from 2019.

Here are highlights of data from the 2020 northern durum wheat crop.

Wheat and Grade Data:

  • Grade – the overall average is U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD); 87% of the crop grades U.S. No. 1 or 2 Hard Amber Durum (HAD), up markedly from 37% a year ago.
  • Test Weight averages 62.2 lb/bu (80.9 kg/hl), well above last year and the 5-year averages.
  • Total defects average of 1.5% is lower than 2019, as disease pressures were relatively low and harvest weather was near ideal.
  • Vitreous kernel (HVAC) content is 88%, up sharply from 64% in 2019, and also higher than the 5-year averages. Nearly two-thirds of the samples were above 90% HVAC.
  • Wheat Protein averages 13.4% (12% mb), lower than both 2019 and the 5-year averages.
  • 1000 Kernel Weight average of 46.7 g (14% mb) is exceptionally high, above last year and nearly 6 g higher than the 5-year average, due to excellent conditions during kernel development.
  • Wheat Falling Number average of 419 sec, is well above 2019 and higher than the 5-year averages and indicative of sound wheat.
  • DON average is 0.2 ppm, lower than both 2019 and the 5-year averages and disease pressures were minimal in 2020.

Semolina and Processing Data:

  • Semolina Extraction average is 58.5%, up from 2019. Commercial mills will likely see a greater increase in extraction due to high HVAC levels and excellent kernel qualities.
  • Color values are higher than 2019 for both brightness and yellowness.
  • Gluten index values are 74.4%, higher than both 2019 and the 5-year averages.
  • Semolina color values are higher than a year ago, for both brightness and yellowness, and more similar to the 5-year average.
  • Cooked spaghetti evaluations show lower values compared to last year and the 5-year averages with lower cooked weight and less cooked firmness.
  • Mixing properties reveal a slightly weaker crop compared to a year ago, a 6 (scale 1-8), but stronger than the 5-year averages.

Buyers are encouraged to review their quality specifications to ensure that their purchases meet their expectations.

View other summaries of the 2020 U.S. wheat crop:
Hard Red Winter 
Hard Red Spring
Hard White
Soft White
Soft Red Winter

View the full 2020 U.S. Crop Quality Report and other related resources here.