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With wheat now firmly among the world’s top media stories, attention turns the week of May 16 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 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 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 will make it to harvest in several southwest Kansas counties. Drought and vicious winds throughout the winter 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 norther 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 “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 basically 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 the #wheattour22 handle 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 in 2022 on May 13.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Iran

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.

Syria

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

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.

Turkey

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

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

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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.

USDA

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.

 

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By Michael Anderson, USW Market Analyst

As the U.S. wheat 2021/22 marketing year reaches its halfway point, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) summarizes market factors affecting global wheat supply and demand with its farmer board of directors. The data comes from USDA’s October reports, which will be updated on November 9. We want to share some information here, focusing on key wheat exporting countries.

USDA pegs 2021/22 world wheat production at a record 776 million metric tons (MMT), up 1.0 MMT from last year and 2% above the 5-year average of 757 MMT. Total global supplies are forecast to reach 1,064 MMT, 1% less than last year.

Significantly lower production is expected in the United States, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and a slight drop in Australian production, all exporting countries.

Change in world Wheat Production 2021

Among wheat exporting countries, the United States, Canada, Russia, Australia, Kazakhstan and Australia saw wheat production decline for 2021. All wheat exporting countries now hold 18% of world wheat stocks.

USDA estimates 2021/22 world wheat ending stocks will reach 277 MMT, down 4% from last year and 2% less than the 5-year average. A closer look at stocks held by exporting countries reveals that USDA now expects exporters to control just 18% of world wheat stocks, including Black Sea exporters. When exporters hold so few stocks, a bullish market and volatility result.

Following are USDA estimates for selected exporting countries, except where noted.

United States

  • U. S. wheat production will total 44.8 MMT, down 10% from last year and 15% below the 5-year average;
  • Persistent, severe dryness significantly cut hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and Northern durum production;
  • Total U.S. wheat exports will reach 23.8 MMT in 2021/22, 12% less than last year and 10% less than the 5-year average.

Canada

  • Canadian 2021/22 wheat production will reach 21.0 MMT, 40% lower than last year and 35% less than the 5-year average of 35.4 MMT;
  • Spring wheat production is projected to decrease 40% on the year to 15.3 MMT due to extended dry weather Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) reported;
  • According to Statistics Canada, Canadian durum production is forecast to be 3.5 MMT in 2021/22, 46% less than last year on significantly drier growing conditions;
  • Total Canadian wheat exports will decrease 43% from last year to 15.0 MMT, 36% less than the 5-year average.

Russia

  • Total 2021/22 Russian wheat production decreased 15% on the year to 72.5 MMT;
  • According to SG, Russian planted area was down 1%, and average Russian wheat yield decreased 10% from last year to 39.55 bu/acre;
  • The imposition of a government export tax has slowed international demand for Russian wheat;
  • Total Russian wheat exports will fall 9% from last year to 35.0 MMT, 2% less than the 5-year average of 35.6 MMT.

Ukraine

  • USDA estimates total Ukrainian wheat production rose 30% from 2020/21 to 33.0 MMT;
  • SG predicts the total Ukrainian average wheat yield was up 18% from last year to 66.7 bu/acre;
  • Total Ukrainian wheat exports will rise 39% from last year’s record to 23.5 MMT in 2021/22.

Australia

  • Australian wheat production will fall 5% on the year to 31.5 MMT, although this is still a large crop with significant exportable supplies;
  • Increased average yield was lower despite a 7% increase in harvested area of 34.1 million acres;
  • Total Australian exports will be 23.5 MMT, 0.5 MMT down from 2020/21.

European Union

  • Total European Union (EU) wheat production is up 11% on the year to 139.4 MMT;
  • SG estimates that total EU non-durum wheat will be 129.5 MMT, up 9% from last year;
  • Heavy rain during harvest in both France and Germany challenged milling wheat quality and, as a result, 65% of EU non-durum wheat, or 80.8 MMT, meets millable grade;
  • Total EU wheat exports will increase 20% on the year to 35.5 MMT, 20% above the 5-year average.

Argentina

  • Total Argentinian wheat production will rise 14% from last year to 20.0 MMT following good growing conditions this season;
  • Total Argentinian wheat exports are expected to increase to 13.5 MMT in 2021/22, 23% more than last year and 8% greater than the 5-year average.

Exports by Major Wheat Exporting Countries

USDA expects 2021/22 world wheat trade to fall slightly from last year’s record to 200 MMT. If realized, that would be 6% greater than the 5-year average of 189 MMT. Total global wheat use is forecast at 787 MMT in 2021/22.

According to USDA’s trade forecast, the United States will have a 12% market share in the world wheat trade at 23.8 MMT, in line with last year’s market share.

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By Sarah Ahrens, Agriculture Promotion Coordinator, Nebraska Wheat Board

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in October 2020 on the Nebraska Wheat Board section of www.nebraskawheat.com. It is reprinted with permission. Sarah reports that as a first time wheat farmer, her crop turned out very well with excellent yields and quality that matched wheat harvested in 2021 in her region of Nebraska. 

Hey everyone, my name is Sarah and I serve as the Agriculture Promotion Coordinator for the Nebraska Wheat Board. I come from a farming background as my husband and our family raise corn and soybeans, cattle and hogs. After working for the wheat industry this past year, I finally talked my husband into planting some wheat this fall…except he decided wheat production should be my project!

Let it be known, I have an A+ record for being a good passenger in tractors during planting season, but I have never tackled that project on my own. This year, I will be in charge of all wheat production aspects from the day the seed goes in the ground to the last day of harvest. I am excited about this opportunity, and I know I have a lot of great wheat producers who will help me along each step of the way.

Sarah Ahrens, Nebraska Wheat Board, a first time wheat farmer

Sarah Ahrens took on wheat management on her family’s farm in Eastern Nebraska in 2020.

As part of my job with the Nebraska Wheat Board, I get to work with producers from all across the state. Mark Knobel is the District 6 director and is located in Fairbury and represents the eastern half of the state. When it came time to order our seed for the year, I reached out to a local Extension agent, Nathan Mueller, and Mark about the best varieties to use and best planting dates. Mark grows, treats and sells Certified Seed in Nebraska.

Certified seed meets the quality requirements set by Nebraska Seed Law and the Federal Seed Act and assures the buyer of obtaining reliable performance of the variety purchased. Once we determined the best variety to plant in our area, we worked with Mark to purchase the seed and have it delivered to our farm. Near the end of this summer, Nathan put together an image of the best planting dates in Nebraska based on temperature records and previous information. This year, our region’s planting date is set at October 10th, though having it in the ground a little before then is our ultimate goal. Nathan does a great job working with and educating producers in eastern Nebraska about wheat. To read more of his information, you can visit his website at: http://croptechcafe.org/winterwheat/.

After researching seed varieties and speaking with the experts, we decided to purchase two different varieties: LCS Valiant by Limagrain and SY Wolverine by Syngenta. Both of these varieties are well adapted to the eastern side of Nebraska where we receive an annual precipitation of 30 inches and they also have good resistance to Fusarium Head Blight (scab) which tends to be an issue in our area. Fusarium Head Blight reduces overall wheat yield and produces mycotoxins, a toxic substance produced by fungus, that impact both human and animal health. Producing the safest wheat is a top priority, so we are taking the appropriate steps to reduce disease in our wheat.

One of the varieties we are planting, LCS Valiant, though it is licensed and marketed by Limagrain, was actually developed at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) by Dr. Stephen Baenziger [now retired]. Dr. Baenziger has been UNL’s small grains breeder for 34 years and has developed 44 wheat, 6 barley and 13 triticale varieties. The full research and development process from crossing lines to field trials and finally licensing the variety takes about 10 years. When a variety has been approved by the variety release committee, it is then licensed to either a state crop improvement association, certified seed grower or private company.

Seed Tag with Sarah Ahrens' name

Sarah selected LCS Valiant variety of hard red winter wheat that was developed by the public breeding program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and licensed for marketing by Limagrain. though it is licensed to Limagrain company for commercial sale.

Husker Genetics is the foundation seed department of UNL that sells foundation soybeans, wheat, barley, triticale, sorghum, millet, proso millets, dry edible beans and grass seed to certified seed growers. Husker Genetics works with producers all across the state who are certified seed growers, to grow and process the seed each year.  Wheat is one of the leading products sold by Husker Genetics. University programs all across the country account for more than 40% of the wheat seed sold each year, which makes funding for these programs a top priority for entities such as the wheat commissions all across the U.S.

The Nebraska Wheat Board was founded in 1955 when the Nebraska Legislature passed the Nebraska Wheat Resources Act. Today, the Nebraska Wheat Board collects an excise tax of four-tenths of one percent (0.4%) of net value at the point of first sale on all wheat sold in the state. This money is then directed into five categories to promote the industry: marketing (international and domestic), research, federal farm policy, and education and promotion. The Nebraska Wheat Board is directed by a seven-member board, appointed by the Governor, who then invests the collected funds into each of the five categories.

The Nebraska Wheat Board recognizes the importance of marketing the state’s wheat both internationally and domestically but also strives to invest a significant portion of its budget into research. UNL varieties account for over one-third of the wheat grown in the state. With new disease and insect issues, as well as continually improving drought tolerance and increasing yield and milling and baking qualities, it is important for research at UNL to be funded because it will most benefit the producer.

As I have learned over the past 11 months in my position, a lot of work is done before the seed even gets to the farmer. It gives me peace of mind to know that many of the varieties planted in Nebraska are developed and tried right here in our state and then the seed is grown and treated by local farmers themselves. There is a sense of security when you know that your crop has been developed and tested for your area specifically and there is data to back up its proven performance.

I am excited to try my hand at being a first time wheat farmer and understand the production practices that help grow a good wheat crop. I plan on using my farm trials as a part of our crop progress reports this upcoming spring and summer as well. I should give a big thank you to my husband for working with me through this process. He has agreed to teach me how to run all the equipment, help me understand application timing and why, and answer all of my questions to the best of his ability. I look forward to this new challenge and I am excited to see what I can gain from it.

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On Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, U.S wheat futures gained as much as 2% after key wheat-producing nations lowered their production outlooks. With harvest nearly wrapped up in the Northern Hemisphere, the most recent USDA Supply & Demand (WASDE) report brought an updated look at key exporting countries and regions.

USDA currently expects 2021/22 world exportable wheat supplies will be about 221 MMT, down from an estimated 231 MMT in 2020/21.

United States

The 2021 harvest is virtually complete with only a few pockets of hard red spring (HRS) remaining to be harvested and about 10% of the durum crop still in the field. Except for soft red winter (SRW), all U.S. wheat classes saw lower production compared to 2020/21. Proteins were all higher than the 5-year average and growing regions that saw longer periods of hot, dry weather, including the Pacific Northwest (PNW) soft white (SW) region and the state of North Dakota, where the bulk of HRS and durum wheat is grown, saw protein averages reach as much as 1.8 points above the 5-year average.

USDA forecasts U.S. wheat production in 2020/21 will total 46.2 MMT, down 7% compared to 2020/21 following lower than average yields for SW, HRS and durum. Total U.S. wheat exports are expected to reach 23.8 MMT, which is down significantly from last year.

Click here to read more about the 2021 U.S. wheat harvest.

U.S. wheat supply and demand

Source: USDA, September 2021

Canada

After a record-setting 2020 wheat harvest, Canada’s total 2021 wheat crop is forecast to drop sharply. Stats Canada, in its latest report released this month, used satellite images and other data to estimate production. The Western Canadian spring wheat crop is expected to be 15.3 MMT, a 41% drop compared to last year, which would be the smallest spring wheat crop since 2007. Total wheat production is projected at 21.7 MMT, down 38% compared to 2020/21. The decline in production is blamed on hot, dry weather that persisted throughout the growing season.

Canadian wheat supply and demend

Source: USDA, September 2021

European Union (EU)

France’s farm ministry lowered its estimate for 2021 soft (non-durum) wheat by more than 600,000 MT this month following a wet summer. Despite the reduction, the ministry emphasized that the forecast was 24% higher than last year’s harvest and 8% higher than the 5-year average. Strategié Grains noted that wet weather towards the end of the growing cycle led to disappointing yields in France and Germany, while hot, dry weather early in the summer challenged the wheat crop in Poland and the Baltics. On the other hand, Romania and Bulgaria had record-setting yields this year. According to Romania’s agriculture minister, yields there were 5.34 MT/ha (79.4 bu/ac). Bulgarian wheat production was up 51% compared to last year reported AgriCensus. Despite the increased production, persistent rain caused concern about milling quality with decreased test weight and falling number reported.

EU wheat supply and demand

Source: USDA, September 2021

Russia

The latest USDA WASDE report put Russian wheat production at 72.5 MMT, 12.5 MMT less than the USDA’s original forecast of 85.0 MMT. Russia’s agriculture ministry reported 69.3 MMT of wheat harvested as of Sept. 9 on 23.7 million hectares (58.5 million acres), 12% less than the same time last year.

Russian wheat supply and demand

Source: USDA, September 2021

Ukraine

An autumn drought last year reduced Ukraine’s winter grains planted area, but officials said farmers plan to plant 10% more winter wheat this year. The agriculture ministry reported the wheat harvest complete with 32.8 MMT in the bin with a yield of 4.66 MT/ha (69.20 bu/ac). The current wheat harvest is a record for the Black Sea exporter, and yields are 22% higher than last year’s reported AgriCensus. In 2021, Ukraine’s grain exports could reach 80.6 MMT according to their agriculture ministry. The latest WASDE report forecasts Ukrainian wheat exports to be 23.5 MMT, up significantly from last year.

Australia

Australia’s Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) reported “exceptionally favorable” growing conditions for the second year in a row and adjusted its wheat forecast up 17% to 32.63 MMT. The latest WASDE report forecast Australian wheat production at 31.5 MMT, up 1.5 MMT compared to the August report.

Argentina

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange (BAGE) reported 79% of all the wheat planted area had normal or excellent moisture levels. BAGE emphasized that Argentina’s wheat crop improved significantly following rainfall in the central and southern planted areas. The USDA left its production forecast unchanged from last month at 20.5 MMT.

By Michael Anderson, USW Market Analyst

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Every farmer marks the passage of the year by the work that must be done. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recently 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.

“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 is sharing individual chapters of the video throughout the year. “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 #wheatharvest21 for updates throughout the season.