In 2021, the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) team in Beijing asked then-Chairman and Oregon wheat farmer Darren Padget to record a video message to Chinese milling and trading managers participating in a USW-sponsored “Contracting for Wheat Value” seminar.

The USW team wanted to show customers the important things U.S. farmers do every day to produce more and better wheat with less impact on the environment. Chairman Padget took the challenge to heart and spent an entire spring day walking the Chinese team through his operation to tell his farm’s sustainability story.

USW is sharing that story here with a wider audience that is increasing interested in learning more about sustainable food production.

Better Soil 

Joined by his son Logan and his father Dale — partners in Padget Ranches — Darren talked in his video presentation about the effort to improve the soil in which they grow high quality soft white wheat.

“From when my father came to farm … things have changed quite drastically,” Darren said. “Taking care of the land and making sure it is sustainable is very important  to us as we move forward. We used to till the soil heavily with a moldboard plow … it took a lot of time, a lot of fuel, and a lot of resources. Now, we do ‘direct seeding,’ which means the stubble in the field stays intact, which builds our soil organic matter and is less susceptible to erosion. It has been a big change. We have adopted the technology, and it seems to be the best answer to make sure this farm is here for many generations to come.”

Image shows Darren Padget bending down to drink from a garden hose on his farm

Clean Drinking Water. In the “A Visit to Padget Ranches in Oregon” Darren Padget said his family’s drinking water comes from a well on the farm, a personal reason why they are very cautious about crop protection applications.

Logan Padget is the fifth generation of his family to farm in this dry north-central Oregon region just south of the Columbia River. He has embraced precision agricultural technology. In the video, he talks about the efficiency of the farm’s crop protection product application equipment.

Precision Applications

“This machine is almost as late and great as you can get on technology,” Logan said. “It is GPS-controlled. Once I make the first pass on a field, the GPS can perfectly mimic that line across the field with just one-third of a meter of overlap. That is better than anybody could drive by hand. There’s also section control through the GPS, so if you’re coming across at an angle, each section will shut off to avoid double spraying, which saves us money. It also means fewer chemicals applied to the crop. It’s just a win-win all the way around.”

Better Quality Wheat

Darren also described how farmers are reaching beyond their own fields to help improve the functional quality of the milling wheat they grow for overseas and domestic consumption. He showed a “Preferred Variety List” that ranks public and commercial wheat varieties by desirability of quality characteristics based on three years of data. The list is developed by the state wheat commissions in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, which are directed by farmers who fund commission activities (including membership in USW).

Image shows the front and back of the 2021 Preferred Variety List for PNW wheat

Ranked by Quality. The Pacific Northwest Preferred Variety List encourages functional quality improvement for overseas and domestic millers and food processors. The description of the list states: “When making a decision between varieties with similar agronomic characteristics and grain yield potential, choose the variety with the higher quality ranking. This will help to increase the overall quality and desirability of Pacific Northwest (PNW) wheat.”

We invite you to view the entire video below.

Image shows the opening scene from a video featuring Darren Padget



Every farmer marks the passage of the year by the work that must be done. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has described the care needed as the crop grows to protect its potential yield and quality in a sustainable way. Stunning fields of gold mark the culmination of a farmer’s time raising wheat.

Wheat harvest is a season that brings joy but also demands a determination to do whatever it takes to bring home the crop at its peak. In the photo above, Colorado wheat farmer Brian Starkebaum pushes through the evening to harvest his 2022 winter wheat crop.

“Wheat harvest represents the fruition of everything that we have worked for the last several months,” said Ohio farmer Jeremy Goyings. “You get to capitalize and collect those things that you hope you are doing right to make lots of high-quality, high yield product to sell.”

“The work is just an emotional roller coaster day by day, honestly,” said Montana wheat farmer Angie Hucke. “Farming is risky. Being able to manage that and control what you can to make the best of what you cannot control is something that farmers keep in their mind all the time. But this is what we decided to do, and we are going to dig our heels in and make the very best of it.”

As a part of its film, “Wholesome: The Journey of U.S. Wheat,” USW has shared individual chapters of the video since celebrating our 40th anniversary. “Harvest: Bringing Home the Crop” provides more information about the work, risk and rewards of each wheat harvest.

During the wheat harvest season, USW publishes a weekly harvest update. Subscribe here to receive this report directly to your inbox. On social media: follow hashtag #wheatharvest22 for updates throughout the season.



The 2022 U.S. wheat harvest is well underway across several states. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports on its progress as well as 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. These weekly Harvest Reports are published every Friday afternoon, Eastern Daylight Time, from May to October. Anyone interested in receiving this report directly to their email inbox can subscribe here. Updates and photos are also shared on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Several of USW’s state wheat commission members also share more detailed reports, pictures and stories from wheat harvest in their state. It is important to note that when the U.S. wheat harvest is expected to begin and end from state to state varies each year based on several factors, including weather and if planting was completed on schedule.

Learn how you can follow the U.S. wheat harvest by state below.

Wheat harvest in Kansas typically begins in early to mid-June and is complete by mid-July. It starts in the south-central part of the state and moves north and west. Harvest reports are typically published online Sunday through Thursday during the harvest season. Viewers can also sign up to receive these reports via email here. Photos, crop progress and harvest updates are also shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Wheat harvest in Oklahoma typically begins the last weekend in May, around Memorial Day, and is usually complete by the first week of July. It starts in the southwest and south-central part of the state, moves north and west, and then fans out across the northern tier of the entire state. Harvest reports are published weekly on the Oklahoma Wheat Commission website. Updates are also regularly shared on Facebook and Twitter, including photos and videos from wheat farmers across the state.

Wheat harvest in Texas typically begins in late April to early May and is complete by the beginning of July. It starts along the coastal bend in the southern part of the state, then moves north and west, concluding in the Panhandle. Photos, crop progress and harvest updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter. As harvest begins, updates are regularly posted to the Texas Wheat website.

Generally, wheat harvest starts in Southeast Colorado around the third week of June and gradually moves north, typically nearing completion by July 15. Colorado Wheat publishes a weekly crop outlook report that is posted on Facebook, Twitter and its website homepage. Once harvest begins, a report will be published on the same channels approximately twice a week.

Idaho wheat farmers typically begin harvesting in early July and continue through the end of August. Harvest starts in the central part of the state and moves north and south. Idaho wheat harvest updates and photos are posted on Instagram and Twitter. The Idaho Wheat Commission also sends an email newsletter on the first Wednesday of the month that includes a crop production report. Those interested can subscribe here or contact their staff here.

Wheat harvest in Oregon typically begins in mid-July and is complete by the end of August. Photos, crop progress and harvest updates are posted on Facebook and Instagram.

Wheat harvest in Washington typically begins in early July and is complete by September. It starts in the west-central part of the state and moves east toward the Idaho state line. Learn more from the Washington Grain Commission on its website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Montana’s wheat harvest ranges from the end of July to the first week of September. HRW harvest typically begins first and is closely followed by HRS and durum, which is generally ready two to three weeks after HRW. Harvest starts in the south-central portions of the state and moves to the northwest and east. Photos, crop progress and harvest updates are posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. The Montana Wheat & Barley Committee also publishes monthly crop reports on YouTube, hosts a Live Crop Cam for viewers to check in on that crop throughout its lifecycle, and posts additional updates on its website.

South Dakota
Wheat production in South Dakota is evenly split between HRW and HRS wheat. HRW harvest typically begins in early July, with HRS harvest following in late July and early August. The South Dakota Wheat Commission shares updates in its South Dakota Wheat Outlook on its website and also shares photos and updates on crop progress and harvest on Facebook and Twitter.

North Dakota
The North Dakota Wheat Commission shares weekly crop progress and harvest updates on its website. Those interested can sign up to receive these updates directly to their inbox via the signup box at the bottom of the homepage here. Pictures and updates are also shared on Facebook.

Wheat harvest in Minnesota typically starts at the end of July in the central part of the state and moves north to finish by the end of August. Minnesota Wheat shares a weekly newsletter and other posts from the University of Minnesota Extension on its website, Facebook and Twitter.

Arizona’s Desert Durum® wheat harvest typically begins in early May and is complete by mid-July. The Arizona Grain Research & Promotion Council shares updates on Facebook.

Other Sources

Crop Progress and Condition Reports by state are also published by the USDA State Crop Progress and Condition.

Connect with USW’s other state wheat commission members below.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as of Sunday, June 5, reported spring wheat planting at 82% complete, 15-points below the 5-year average of 97% and below analysts’ expectations of 86%. Spring wheat planting was up just 9-points from the week before, dragged down by slow progress in North Dakota and Minnesota. Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Washington planting were much further along averaging 98% planted, slightly ahead of the 5-year average.

Farmers in the upper Great Plains are likely disappointed at mother nature’s refusal to cooperate. After dry conditions in 2021, hard red spring (HRS) wheat production was down 44% compared to 2020. Planting conditions remained dry until late spring when heavy snow, persistent rain, and spring flooding made planting difficult due to the excess moisture.

A line chart showing U.S. spring wheat planting progress.

Planting Delay Perspective. This chart showing the percentage of U.S. spring wheat planting progress for the past several years showed planting in 2022 (thick black line) was far behind as of mid-May. Farmers moved quickly when conditions allowed and as of June 6, planting progress stood at 82%. Source: USDA/NASS.

Saturated Soil

Saturated fields are hard to move heavy farming equipment in. The equipment can also compact soil and tear up fields. Additionally, crops can emerge unevenly, if at all, in soggy soil. In the eastern part of North Dakota, flooding along the Red River caused road conditions to become impassable impacting field access for farmers. Finally, farmers must consider the impact of delayed planting; when spring wheat is planted too late the crop can yield less.

North Dakota

North Dakota, the largest spring wheat producing state, reported 74% of the HRS crop planted, compared to 59% the week before and 23-points below the 5-year average of 97%. Rain the last weekend in May delayed planting for some producers. Across the state, conditions differ, according to the most recent North Dakota Wheat Commission update some farmers have finished planting while others are less than halfway done. Some fields remain too wet to plant and more rain is in the forecast this week. Planting past this week is not ideal the commission notes but farmers are doing as much as they can to get their crop in the ground.


The USDA reported Minnesota at 65% planted for the week of June 6, 33-points behind the 5-year average of 98%. Farmers in Minnesota made significant progress between the weeks of May 22 and May 29 when HRS planting went from 11% to 53%, an impressive jump that shows what can be done in good weather conditions. Still, Minnesota farmers have much progress to make in the days ahead to get their wheat in the ground.


Conditions are not much different in Canada’s spring wheat production region. Dry weather last year also cut production while abundant rain this year is slowing planting progress. In Manitoba, the Canadian province adjacent to North Dakota, seeding progress was 40% for the week through May 31, compared to the 5-year average of 91%. Like North Dakota and Minnesota, Canadian farmers are dealing with saturated and flooded fields.

By Michael Anderson, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Market Analyst


With wheat now firmly among the world’s top media stories, attention this week turns to Kansas and the annual Wheat Quality Council Hard Winter Wheat Tour. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Market Analyst Michael Anderson and Assistant Director, West Coast Office, Tyllor Ledford, will join more than 80 stakeholders scouting fields across Kansas, far southern Nebraska and far northern Oklahoma to estimate average yield and production.

Bullish USDA Report

USDA provided a preview on May 12 with a very bullish 2022/23 wheat outlook in its May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. Factoring in extremely dry conditions in the southern Plains, USDA estimated hard red winter (HRW) production at 16.1 million metric tons (MMT), down 21% from production in 2021. The farmer survey USDA uses to make its estimates suggested that 28% of winter wheat seeded in fall 2021 – mostly HRW and hard white – will be abandoned.

The Kansas Wheat Commission reported on May 9 that very little wheat would make it to harvest in several southwest Kansas counties. Throughout the winter, drought and vicious winds took their toll on the wheat and the soil. The photo at the top of this page from Kansas Wheat shows how farmers in that area have tried to protect their wheat from the dry winds with “chisel plowing” that lifts up soil into rows next to the wheat.

Map from NASS showing change in wheat yields by state from 2021 to 2022

Yields Down in HRW Region. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates lower HRW production in key states in 2022 compared to 2021 but a return to trend yields in the northern Plains and Pacific Northwest as of May 12, 2022.

Will the Hard Winter Wheat Tour see some measure of hope for a better-than-expected crop? After widespread rain in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and parts of Oklahoma the week of May 1, USDA’s May 9 estimate of wheat crop conditions in Kansas ticked up 3 points to 28% good or excellent. However, the week’s weather turned hot and dry again.

Some Decent Wheat

Ahead of the tour, Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin told his board that “there will be some decent wheat in the first part of the tour, but the scouts will witness the stressed, poorer conditions as they proceed westward.” He added that heat, low humidity and winds the week of May 9 likely pushed wheat rapidly toward maturity.

Colorado Wheat Director of Communications and Policy Madison Andersen reported to the state’s wheat farmers that “despite last week’s (May 2) rain, crop conditions remained unchanged this week (May 9). This [fact] further drives home the point that what remains of Colorado’s wheat crop is living on borrowed time. Even the ‘good’ wheat needs rain soon and the forecast is not encouraging.”

Photo by Colorado Wheat shows variable wheat conditions.

Decent Wheat. A photo taken May 13 by Colorado Wheat CEO Brad Erker in northeast Colorado’s Morgan County shows what he called “decent wheat” but with inconsistent stands.

Follow the Tour

The annual Hard Winter Wheat Tour will help make the picture of the 2022 U.S. HRW crop clearer. Along with the world, follow the tour in real time by checking #wheattour22 on Twitter. And keep up-to-date on the harvest, which could start soon in southern Texas, with the weekly USW Harvest Report posted for the first time this season on May 13, 2022. Subscribe to have the report sent directly to your email inbox here.


Another U.S. wheat harvest season is approaching. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will begin publishing its weekly harvest report for marketing year 2022/23 on Friday, May 13, 2022.

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 receive the Harvest Report directly to their email inbox 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 in meetings and for answering inquiries. Several USW offices publish the report in the local language. Additional links to the Harvest Report are available on USW’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, where we also share harvest photos throughout the week.

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

Learn more about the work, risk and rewards of each U.S. wheat harvest here and in the video below.


Analysis of the wheat market since February has been underscored by volatility, and no less so for the U.S. soft white (SW) wheat market.

The sudden exit of Ukraine from the export market and the uncertainty of Russia’s wheat exports are recent factors in market volatility. Dry weather is another important consideration for winter wheat markets.

The most recent USDA crop progress report rated 27% of the entire U.S. winter wheat crop as good or excellent, a 3-point drop from last week and the lowest level since 1989 for this time of year. The report encompasses all winter wheat, including SW grown in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). And with summer fast approaching, it is a good time to look at the underlying factors for the 2022 U.S. SW crop.

Conditions Improved

The PNW wheat-growing region remains in some form of drought. Yet crop conditions there are considerably better than in the Plains. Following significantly more winter moisture, spring weather has also returned to normal, with rain and mild temperatures reported in Washington’s Palouse region and north-central Oregon.

Idaho wheat conditions are rated 56% good or excellent. Oregon’s conditions rate 55% good or excellent, and Washington state, the leading SW producer, with 52% of the crop rated good or excellent.

Kernels of soft white wheat

Better moisture gave the 2022 U.S. soft white wheat crop an initial boost. If conditions hold, there will be better yields and quality compared to the 2021 crop. Soft white wheat kernel photo by U.S. Wheat Associates. 

Better Than 2021

Last year, persistent hot and dry weather hit the PNW, impacting both yield and protein content for soft white wheat. According to the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Crop Quality Report, the average soft white protein on a 12% moisture basis in 2021 was 11.3%, 15% higher than in 2020 and 16% above the 5-year average. Production was down 28% compared to the 5-year average. In Washington, the leading SW producer, yields were slashed 47% compared to 2020/21.

Ending stocks are especially tight, with the USDA estimating a 26% decline compared to last year. The relatively high cost of the smaller white wheat crop and week-to-week price volatility has translated to reduced SW export volume this year. USDA’s April supply and demand estimate reduced exports by 46%, and the latest USW Commercial Sales report showed soft white exports 50% lower year-to-date at 3.33 MMT.

Planted Area Up

However, USDA expects SW area planted for harvest in 2022 to be 3.56 million acres (1.44 million hectares), up 2% compared to last year. That is good news for SW wheat millers. Production potential and farmer revenue from SW is complicated by higher input costs like fertilizer, and the volatile futures market make it difficult for farmers to determine their best course of action. Even so, the improved conditions this year should benefit both SW customers and farmers.

New Crop Hope

Oregon SW wheat farmer and current USW Chairman Darren Padget is optimistic about the potential in his SW crop this year. He said this year has been much more normal than last year, with moisture being much more consistent and plentiful in the winter and spring. He said that in his area of the PNW, “we are on track for an average crop.”

Glen Squires, Chief Executive Officer for the Washington Grain Commission, said that spring conditions have been wetter and cooler than last year. He did, however, warn that subsoil moisture is about the same as last year, around 40% short or very short. Overall, Squires noted that they are optimistic that crop quality and yields will rebound from last year.

By USW Market Analyst Michael Anderson

The header photo is courtesy of the Washington Grain Commission.


The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its latest Grain Stocks report and Prospective Plantings report March 31. The report echoed what many market analysts expected, tighter U.S. wheat stocks and higher planted winter wheat area. One significant exception was a slight decline in spring wheat planted area intentions compared to USDA’s previous prediction that planted area would be up.

The Grain Stocks report placed wheat storage at 27.2 MMT, down 22% from last year. The Prospective Plantings report estimated all wheat plantings up 1% compared to 2021 to 47.4 million acres (19.1 million hectares). Despite the increased planted acres year-over-year, if realized, the all-wheat planted area is the fifth-lowest since USDA began keeping records in 1919.

The initial market reaction reflected the relatively unchanged expectation for U.S. winter wheat and the more bullish spring wheat reports.

Grain Stocks

In the quarterly Grain Stocks report, all wheat stored as of March 1, 2022, was 1.02 billion bushels (27.7 MMT), down 22% from a year ago and the lowest in 14 years. On-farm stocks were estimated to fall 39% to 174 million bushels (4.7 MMT).

In North Dakota, the largest spring wheat producer, stocks were down 33%. In Kansas, the largest winter wheat producer, stocks were down 16%. Durum wheat, last updated on December 1, 2021, was reported to fall 30% year-over-year to 43 million bushels (1.1 MMT). Corn stocks were up 2% from last year at 7.85 billion bushels (213.6 MMT).

The latest Grain Stocks report, with reduced supplies, shows the impact drought had on the crop harvested in 2021. The March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reported U.S. ending stocks for all wheat classes at 17.8 MMT, 23% lower than last year. The next report will be published Friday, April 8.

Photo of three grain bins.

U.S. Wheat Stocks Down. Following severe drought, U.S. wheat stocks are down significantly, according to the USDA 2022 Grain Stocks report.

Prospective Plantings

The 2022 Prospective Plantings report confirmed a predicted 2% increase in U.S. winter wheat planted area while indicating a similar percentage decline in U.S. spring wheat and durum planted area. This report is based on a farmer survey taken earlier in March.

In February, USDA expected U.S. winter wheat planted area of 34.4 million acres would be up 2% overall compared to the 2021 crop. Projections now are slightly less at 34.2 million acres, including 23.7 million acres of HRW, 6.89 million acres of SRW, and 3.62 million acres of white wheat (99% soft white).

However, the hard red spring (HRS) and durum prediction are down 2% from USDA’s February estimate to 13.2 million acres and 2% down from planted area in 2021. The report indicates that farmers intend to plant 11.2 million acres of HRS, down from 11.5 million acres in 2021. But durum intentions are pegged up 17% at just under 2.0 million acres.

USDA will update these farmer intentions at the end of June 2022 and provide a final planted area in its annual production report in January 2023.

Alternative Crops Expected Up

Farmers are now considering the profit potential of crops other than spring wheat. In fact, USDA’s survey shows farmers in the Northern Plains spring wheat and durum production area intend to plant 584,000 more acres of barley, dry peas, sunflowers, lentils and flax this year compared to 2021. That is what USDA expected based on the favorable prices of those alternative crops.

Field of barley to illustrate alternative crops

Alternative Spring Crop Planting Predicted Up. USDA’s 2022 Planting Intentions report suggests that U.S. farmers will plant more alternative crops like barley (above) in the spring wheat and durum production area.

There can be significant differences between the March Prospective Plantings, June Acreage, and final planted area of crops like spring wheat and durum. In addition to decisions about alternative crops, total planted area of spring wheat and durum will also be affected by the weather. DTN Contributing Analyst Joel Karlin provided perspective on these potential differences in a Progressive Farmer column published March 30.

The report suggests another crossover of U.S. corn and soybean planting intentions. Farmers told USDA/NASS they expect to plant 4% less corn and 4% more soybeans in 2022. If realized, soybean planted area of 91 million acres would be a record amount.


In a market-moving report in February, USDA cut its 2021/22 global wheat production estimate by more than 2 million metric tons (MMT) from its January estimate. USDA also increased its world wheat consumption estimate.

What is behind this change so late in the marketing year?

This year, high wheat prices remain a fixture as drought in major exporting countries cut trade supplies. However, coming into better focus is the hard-hitting drought in Middle Eastern countries that usually grow more wheat for domestic use.

Chart shows significant run up in wheat prices reflecting lower global wheat production.

Supply Restrained

Iran, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt have all seen crop reductions during the 2021/22 growing season, contributing to lower global wheat production. That suggests higher wheat import volumes will be needed to meet domestic demand. This is significant because, taken as a whole, the region is expected to import 35.5 MMT of wheat in 2021/22. That is 17% of USDA’s global import forecast of 204.8 MMT. In 2020/21, these five countries imported 25.9 MMT or 13% of the global wheat trade.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) report on Iran estimates wheat production to be down 3 MMT to 12 MMT total. Syrian wheat production is estimated at 2 MMT, and in Iraq, production is estimated at 3.5 MMT. Much of the production shortfall is being made up by imports from Russia, which enjoys a transportation advantage, FAS reported.

A look into the situation in these countries is helpful.


In October 2021, Reuters reported that Iran, which has imported around 1.0 MMT of wheat annually over the last five years, would need to import 8 MMT in 2021/22 to ensure a steady bread supply. The Foreign Agricultural Service forecast wheat imports at 7 MMT this year, up nearly 5 MMT compared to other years. Iran suffered its worst drought in half a century during the 2021 growing season, cutting the wheat crop by 30%, said industry sources.


In Syria, the “Year of Wheat” campaign has been challenged by low rainfall, leaving an import gap of 1.5 MMT. The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that Syria would need to import at least 1.5 MMT of wheat. The organization said the government’s target of 1.2 MMT of local wheat, purchased through forced sales of wheat from Syrian farmers to the government, “looked unrealistic.”


Iraq’s state-grain buyer said it procured around 3.36 MMT of local wheat in 2021, down from 5.02 MMT in 2020. The Grain Board said in December it plans to import 2 MMT of wheat in 2022. Unlike the other countries discussed here, Iraq is less price-sensitive and buys high-quality wheat from U.S., Australian and Canadian origins. When Iraq’s Ministry of trade was actively tendering for wheat between 2017 and 2019, more than half its imports came from the United States. Before this year, two exceptionally large Iraqi wheat crops have met domestic demand.

The Chart shows decline in production in Iran, Syria and Iraq that affects global wheat production

Smaller Crops. Drought has hit several Middle Eastern countries, contributing to lower global wheat production and increased trade. Source: USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service Global Market Analysis.


This month, the USDA/FAS agricultural attaché in Turkey reduced the estimate for wheat imports in 2021/22 by 5 MMT to 10.8 MMT. Even so, the revised estimate is 33% higher than imports from previous marketing years. The FAS office also said wheat production in 2021/22 had fallen 2 MMT to 16.25 MMT. The Attaché’s report is lower than the recent WASDE report, which put Turkey’s wheat imports at 11 MMT. The Turkish Statistic Institute showed that wheat imports during the first six months of the 2021/22 trade year (June-November 2021) grew by 20% year-on-year.


Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world. It produces less than half the wheat it consumes annually. According to the Egyptian Supply Minister, the government is working hard to diversify its suppliers. The recent tension between Russia and Ukraine could disrupt 80% of Egypt’s grain flow. Despite an increased harvest forecast of 9 MMT for domestic wheat, 100,000 MT more than 2020/21, domestic consumption is expected to increase 400,000 MT. Egypt’s imports are expected to increase 7% compared to the 5-year average.

The chart shows a big increase in wheat imports by Middle East countries and effect on global wheat production

More Wheat Needed. With lower production, import demand for wheat is expected to be up this year in Iran, Iraq, Syria and other wheat-producing countries. Source: USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service Global Market Analysis.

Drought, Supply and Prices

Global wheat production challenges fueled by drought have certainly driven this market in the past. And this month, USDA summarized its report this way: “the global wheat outlook for 2021/22 is for lower supplies, higher consumption, increased trade, and reduced ending stocks.”

The price incentive for farmers to produce more wheat for 2022/23 is real. The world will be watching to see if Mother Nature supports that effort.

By Michael Anderson, USW Market Analyst


Here in the United States, the topic of sustainable agriculture is getting a lot of attention. Almost as much as what will happen between Russia and Ukraine. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) believes people everywhere want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced. The following facts and resources will help the world’s wheat buyers learn more about sustainable wheat production in the United States.

Field to Market

Field to Market is an alliance of diverse member organizations formed to help “unite the supply chain to deliver sustainable outcomes for agriculture.” In December 2021, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) shared about sustainable wheat production from Field to Market’s latest “National Indicators Report.” That report provides an assessment of “where U.S. agriculture has made progress in driving improved environmental outcomes.”

NAWG noted the report shows wheat production saw improvement in its sustainability efforts in almost every category of land use, soil conservation, water and energy use. Review the Wheat section of the Field to Market report online here and the entire report here.

Farm Bureau

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is a nationwide advocacy organization for U.S. farmers, including many wheat farmers and livestock producers. The organization has an interesting resource on “Sustainability in Agriculture.” AFBF co-founded the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance and, to showcase the progress U.S. producers have made in achieving sustainability goals, also co-founded Farmers for a Sustainable Future.

This week, AFBF’s President Zippy Duvall wrote an important column pointing out some key facts about U.S. agriculture that may not be well-known. For example, he noted that “American agriculture makes up just 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, much lower than transportation, electricity generation and industry.” In addition, he said more than half the U.S. wheat corn, cotton and soybeans were planted using no-till or low-till methods (see chart below).

Chart showing types of tillage for wheat , corn and soybeans in the US to show sustainable wheat production practices.

U.S. Sustainability Alliance

To help tell the story of sustainable wheat production to the world, USW is a member of the U.S. Sustainability Alliance. That is a group of American farmers, fishery managers and foresters who want to tell the world “how we grow.” The group offers many resources for learning more about responsible food production, including a Sustainability Podcast that will feature sustainable wheat production in a future episode.

A beneficial fact sheet titled “U.S. Wheat – A Global Leader in Sustainability” is also available from U.S. Sustainability Alliance and on the USW website.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has important programs that benefit U.S. farmers and the environment. One example is the Conservation Reserve Program, which has a direct, positive impact on carbon sequestration. There are 140 million acres (56.7 million hectares) of privately owned land reserved from cultivation. In other words, that amount of land is more than the states of New York and California combined.

On Feb. 7, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities” to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. The $1 billion investment will create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices. Some of these practices include cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. Read more about this initiative here.

In Their Own Words

There are no more trusted sources about sustainable wheat production than from farmers themselves. As part of its “Wholesome: The Journey of U.S. Wheat” film, USW included this segment titled “Sustaining the Legacy.”

USW also shares the stories of how six farmers adapt to the challenges unique to their production region to make choices that are best for the environment and their operation. Learn more about their sustainable wheat production practices and how they work every day to contribute to a sustainable future in agriculture here.