A month-long effort that had U.S. wheat farmers and industry experts presenting the 2023 Crop Quality Report to customers in more than two dozen countries is winding down with a collective sense of accomplishment.

It is believed at least one attendance record was set this year.

The annual series of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Crop Quality Seminars, which provide crucial information to customers and provide an opportunity for wheat buyers to interact and create a dialogue about the quality of the wheat crop, began in Sub-Saharan Africa on Nov. 1. Seminars in Central America/Caribbean and South Asia beginning soon after. Seminars in South America, the European Union and North Asia wrapped up on Nov. 20.

Only two dates remain: Seminars will take place in Dubai on Dec. 5 and Casablanca on Dec. 7.

Large Attendance

“The large attendance we saw this year highlights how much our customers value U.S. wheat’s timely and transparent information,” said USW Marketing Analyst Tyllor Ledford, who participated in her first Crop Quality Seminar. Ledford presented at the South Asia seminars (see photo above), which took place in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. “Throughout the three seminars, we were able to reach customers from Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The seminar in Bangkok was the largest on record, with nearly 140 participants.”

Attendance was strong throughout the 2023 Crop Quality Seminar series including here in Seoul, South Korea.

Attendance was strong throughout the 2023 Crop Quality Seminar series including here in Seoul, South Korea.

Producers Cory Kress (Idaho) and Aaron Kjelland (North Dakota) presented on New Technologies in Agriculture and Planting Decisions for Farmers. Likewise, U.S. country elevator managers Jason Middleton and Tyler Krause provided a presentation about grain origination and how it is handled at the first point of sale, in addition to by-class perspectives from exporters.

“The farmers and wheat buyers were happy to reconnect with familiar faces they had seen on trade team visits to the U.S. and other events,” said Ledford.

Positive Feedback

Erica Oakley, USW Vice President of Programs, said there has been a lot of positive feedback from each of the seven regions where Crop Quality Seminars were held.

“Our customers around the world have complimented U.S. wheat staff and presenters from our partner organizations,” said Oakley. “We had a lot of good information to share, so credit goes to the U.S. farmers who produced a high-quality wheat crop.”


USW’s Mexico City Office hosted more than 225 participants representing flour millers and wheat buyers from Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.


The North Asia Crop Quality Seminar team traveled to Suzhou, China, and presented to about 160 flour millers, wheat buyers, and baking industry representatives. Guest of note included Ms. LaShonda McLeod Harper, Director of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai, and the senior COFCO Wheat Department Manager Mr. Sun Wei who had just participated in a USW-sponsored trade team visit for COFCO managers to the United States.

Group of about 160 U.S. and Chinese wheat industry officials and managers at the 2023 USW Crop Quality Seminar in Shanghai, China, Nov. 2023.

About 160 wheat buyers, flour millers, and baking industry executives participated in the 2023 USW Crop Quality Seminar in Suzhou, China.


Montana wheat farmer Denise Conover greets Japanese wheat industry executives at a USW Crop Quality Seminar in Tokyo, Japan.

Montana wheat farmer Denise Conover greets Japanese wheat industry executives at the 2023 USW Crop Quality Seminar in Tokyo, Japan.

In Tokyo, Japan, 130 customers attended a Crop Quality seminar. Attendees included flour milling companies from across the region, Japanese traders, grain inspectors and members of the media.

“The participants were very satisfied with the presentations and engaged them in active discussions and questions to gain a deeper understanding of the quality of this year’s U.S. wheat crop,” said Rick Nakano, USW Country Director in Japan.

South Korea

A total of 90 participants, including customers from the flour milling and food processing industries, attended the seminar held in Seoul, South Korea. It was the first in-person seminar held in South Korea in three years.

“Customers expressed great satisfaction with the on-site Crop Quality Seminar,” said USW Country Director Dong-Chan “Channy” Bae. “Notably, despite the typically reserved nature of Korean attendees, there was an engaging discussion on the market, wheat quality, and logistics during a question-and-answer session.”

South America

Seminars in South America attracted a good number of customers, reports USW Regional Director Miguel Galdos.

“In the seminar held in Cali, Colombia, participants represented 30% of total wheat imports in Colombia,” he said. “Meanwhile, in Bogota, more than 35% of total wheat imports were represented.”

USW Regional Director Osvaldo Seco welcomes participants to a 2023 Crop Quality Seminar in South America.

USW Assistant Regional Director Osvaldo Seco welcomes participants to a 2023 Crop Quality Seminar in South America.

A seminar In Quito, Ecuador, drew companies accounting for at least 90% of U.S. wheat imports. The same can be said for seminars in Lima, Peru, and Santiago, Chile – both saw more than 90% of U.S. wheat purchases represented.

Sub-Saharan Africa

USW’s Cape Town Office conducted Crop Quality seminars in Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; and Cape Town, South Africa. Presenting quality data from the 2023 harvest were Dr. Senay Simsek, Department Head for Food Science at Purdue University; Charlie Vogel, Executive Director of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council; and Royce Schaneman Executive Director of the Nebraska Wheat Board.

Simsek presented on Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) and industry analyst Mike Krueger presented via video on the world supply and demand situation for grains.

In Nairobi, USW also conducted a demonstration at the African Milling School using soft red winter (SRW) and hard red winter (HRW) for local products, such as chapati and mandazi.

By Ralph Loos, USW Director of Communications


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has published its 2023 Crop Quality Report, which includes grade, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes. The report compiles comprehensive data from the analysis of hundreds of samples conducted during and after harvest by our partner organizations and laboratories. The report provides essential, objective information to help buyers get the wheat they need at the best value possible.

In this short video, USW Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley talks about the 2023 report, while Director of Programs Catherine Miller discusses the USW Crop Quality Seminars scheduled around the world in coming weeks . . .


The 2023 U.S. hard red spring (HRS) crop was produced under a wide range of growing conditions. A late spring delayed planting but the early moisture helped establish the crop. Then conditions across the region turned hot and dry with only spotty areas of rain. The rain returned and delayed mid- to late-harvest. Ultimately, total production reached 12.7 million metric tons (MMT), 14% more than in 2022.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports hard red spring quality highlights for three export locations. First is for HRS from the western region that supplies export facilities in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Quality data for HRS that moves from the eastern region to the Gulf of Mexico and to the Great Lakes are reported together. The complete 2023 USW Crop Quality Report and detailed by-class reports are being produced now and will be posted online over the next few weeks.

Close up photo of hard red spring wheat kernels.

2023 HRS PNW-Exportable Overview and Highlights

The 2023 U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat crop grown in the western (PNW-exportable) region offers strong grading characteristics, good protein content, typical dough strength, and improved bake parameters compared to recent years. 

The average grade for the 2023 PNW-exportable HRS harvest survey is U.S. No. 1 Northern Spring (NS), with 84% of samples grading U.S. No. 1.

Average test weight is 60.7 lb/bu (79.8 kg/hl).

The PNW-exportable crop has lower VITREOUS KERNEL (DHV) content, averaging 61% compared to 88% in 2022 and 84% for a 5-year average.

Wheat protein averages 14.1% (12% mb), below 2022 and the 5-year average. Distribution of protein is 32% below 13.5% protein and 40% above 14.5% protein.

Average 1000 kernel weight (TKW) is 32.1 g, well above 2022 and the 5-year average.

Buhler Laboratory Mill flour yield averages 66.7%, above 2022 and the 5-year average. Lab mill settings are not adjusted to account for kernel parameter shifts between crop years. The extraction is calculated on a tempered wheat basis.

Average flour ash is 0.48%, lower than last year and the 5-year average.

Wet gluten averages 32.4%, lower than 2022 and the 5-year average.

Amylograph average of 639 BU is much lower than 2022 and lower than the 5-year average, reflective of isolated areas with harvest rains.

Dough properties suggest a crop that exhibits strong characteristics with greater extensibility, compared to 2022 and the 5-year average.

Farinograph peak and stability times of 7.6 and 12.2 min, respectively, indicate the PNW-exportable crop is similar to 2022 and the 5-year average. Absorption values average 62.8%, down from 2022 and the 5-year average.

The average Alveograph P/L ratio is 0.68 compared to 0.74 in 2022, and the W-value is 384 (10-4 J), down from 396 last year.

The overall extensibility and resistance to extension of the 135-min Extensograph are 13.4 cm and 1001 BU, compared to 12.9 cm and 927 BU last year indicating slightly stronger, yet more extensible dough properties compared to last year.

The average loaf volume is 993 cc, above 940 cc in 2022, and 962 for a 5-year average.

Average bake absorption is 65.4%, lower than 2022 and the 5-year average.

2023 Gulf/Great Lakes-Exportable Overview and Highlights

The 2023 U.S. hard red spring crop grown in the eastern (Gulf/Great Lakes-exportable) region offers a nice balance of protein, strong dough characteristics and very good bake parameters. Overall, this is a highly functional crop.

The average grade is U.S. No. 1 Northern Spring (NS), with 95% of samples grading U.S. No. 1.

Average test weight is 61.7 lb/bu (81.2 kg/hl), lower than 2022 but similar to the 5-year average.

Average vitreous kernel (DHV) content is 44%, lower than last year’s 59% and the 5-year average of 65% due to late-season rain.

Wheat protein averages 14.3% (12% mb) with 21% of the surveyed crop below 13.5%, and 42% above 14.5%.

Average 1000 kernel weight (TKW) is 36.6 g, well above 2022 and the 5-year average.

Buhler Laboratory Mill flour yield averages 66.8, above 2022 but below the 5-year average. Lab mill settings are not adjusted to account for kernel parameter shifts between crop years. The extraction is calculated on a tempered wheat basis.

Average flour ash is 0.47%, similar to 2002, and lower than the 5-year average of 0.51%.

Wet gluten averages 33.2%, slightly lower than 2022 and the 5-year average.

Amylograph average of 566 BU is down from 2022 but similar to the 5-year average.

Dough properties suggest a stronger, slightly less extensible crop as compared to last year and the 5-year average.

Farinograph peak and stability times of 8.2 and 16.1 minutes respectively indicate the Gulf/Great Lakes-exportable crop is much stronger than average. Absorption values average 62.1%, down slightly from 2022, and similar to the 5-year average.

The average Alveograph P/L ratio is 0.78 compared to 0.63 for the 5-year average, and the W-value is 411 (10-4 J), compared to 388 for the 5-year average.

The overall extensibility and resistance to extension of the 135-min Extensograph are 14.0 cm and 1171 BU, compared to 15.6 cm and 743 BU last year indicating stronger, less extensible dough properties.

The average loaf volume is 971 cc, higher than 2022, and similar to the 5-year average.

Average bake absorption is 63.8%, significantly lower than 2022, and lower than the 5-year average.


The 2023 U.S. hard red winter (HRW) growing season saw a mixed bag of conditions from another severe drought in the southern and central Great Plains to nearly ideal rain and temperatures in the northern plains and Pacific Northwest (PNW).

Total production, while still quite low historically, reached 16.4 million metric tons (MMT), a 13% increase from 2022. As for functional qualities, this is a sound crop that meets or exceeds typical HRW contract specifications and should provide high value to customers.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports hard red winter quality highlights for HRW grown in regions that supply feed into export facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and for export facilities in the PNW. The complete 2023 USW Crop Quality Report and detailed by-class reports are being produced now and will be posted online over the next few weeks.

Gulf-Exportable Hard Red Winter Crop Highlights

The average grade is U.S. No. 2 HRW with 84% of the crop grading No. 2 or better.

Test weights trended lower this year with an overall average of 59.7 lb/bu (78.6 kg/hl).

Kernel data indicate uniform and dense kernels with 69% exhibiting large size, a much higher level than in previous years.

Protein content average is 12.9% (12% mb), with 63% of Gulf samples 12.5% or higher.

Alveograph W average value of 260 (10-4 J) is exceptionally high for dough strength and an L value of 110 (mm) indicates very good extensibility.

Farinograph peak and stability averages of 4.9 and 8.9 minutes, respectively, are well within industry target ranges.

Average bake absorption is 64.6%, significantly higher than the 5-year average.

Average loaf volume is 936 cc, comparable to last year and indicative of excellent baking quality.

PNW-Exportable Hard Red Winter Crop Highlights

The average grade for the 2023 PNW-exportable crop is U.S. No. 1 HRW with 81% of samples grading No. 1 and 93% grading No. 2 or better.

PNW test weights trended slightly lower this year with an overall average of 60.7 lb/bu (79.8 kg/hl).

Protein content average is 11.8% (12% mb) with 59% of the crop 11.5% or higher.

Wheat moisture average is 10.4%, adding additional value for milling customers.

Kernel data indicate uniform and dense kernels with 69% exhibiting large size, which is a significant increase from last year and comparable to the 5-year average.

Alveograph W values were exceptionally high for dough strength at 296 (10-4 J) and the extensibility L values are high at 95 (mm).

Dough properties suggest an acceptable crop that is comparable to the 5-year average.

Loaf volume average is 868 cc, comparable to the 5-year average and above U.S. industry targets of 850 cc.



“It was a challenging year,” said Oregon farmer David Brewer of the 2023 soft white (SW) wheat production season. “However, I believe that our investments into variety development and adoption of sustainable management practices have helped us ensure the best functionality from the 2023 crop.”

Seeding conditions were good in the fall of 2022 with sufficient moisture to get the soft white winter wheat crop off to a good start in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Dryness set in just as the crop was breaking dormancy and turned hot as farmers seeded their spring SW. Hot, dry conditions persisted and accelerated maturity and harvest.

Those growing conditions affected yields, with SW production now estimated at 5.3 million metric tons (MMT) or almost 195 million bushels. That is 23% less SW than PNW farmers produced in 2022.

U.S. soft white wheat kernels

Soft white (SW) wheat.

The dry conditions also contributed to a SW crop with above-average protein. Yet, the crop has appropriately weak to medium gluten strength and acceptable or better finished product characteristics. Stocks of more typical protein SW from 2022 are also available to buyers. In addition, the higher protein SW in this crop provides opportunities in blends for crackers, Asian noodles, steamed breads, flat breads, and pan breads.

The following 2023 crop quality highlights include functional data for Club, a sub-class of SW with very weak gluten strength, typically used in a Western White blend with SW for cakes and delicate pastries.

U.S. Club wheat kernels

Club wheat.

2023 SW Crop Highlights

  • The overall average grade of the 2023 SW crop is U.S. No. 1 SW; Club average is also U.S. No. 1.
  • Test weight averages trended lower this year with an average of 60.3 lb/bu (79.3 kg/hl) for SW and 60.7 lb/bu (79.8 kg/hl) for Club.
  • Protein (12% mb) is higher this year with an average of 11.1% for SW and 10.6% for Club.
  • Falling number average is 336 sec or higher for all SW composites and 327 sec for Club.
  • Buhler Laboratory Mill average extraction for SW is 70.3%, and 72.1% for Club. Commercial mills should see better extractions, although some adjustments may be necessary for portions of the crop with lower test weights. Flour extractions should not be compared to last year or the 5-year average as the calculation has shifted from a total product weight basis to a tempered wheat weight basis.
  • Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) lactic acid and water values for SW are 105% and 51%, respectively, indicating weak to medium gluten strength. Overall, SW composites have SRC profiles suitable for good cookie and cracker performance. Lactic acid and water SRC values for Club are 71% and 51%, respectively, and are indicative of very weak gluten with low water holding capacity.
  • Starch pasting properties include amylograph and RVA viscosities for SW and WC indicating the crop is suitable for batter-based products. The low protein SW composite average of 368 BU/2122 cP peak viscosity is reflective of a slightly lower falling number (313 sec). The overall SW and WC averages are similar to last year.
  • Soft white and Club dough properties are typical and suggest very weak to medium gluten strength and low water absorption values similar to their respective 2022 and 5-year averages.
  • Sponge cake volumes average 1089 cc for SW and 1110 cc for Club. Hardness value for SW is 353 g and 337 g for Club. All SW and Club cakes were baked from an experimentally milled straight grade flour. For comparison, control cakes baked at the same time from a commercially milled short patent cake flour (2022 harvest) have an average volume of 1205 cc and an average firmness of 242 g.
  • Cookie diameter values are 7.7 for SW and 7.9 for Club. Spread ratio for SW is 8.2 and 8.8 for Club. These values should not be compared to 2022 or the 5-year averages as the cookie method has changed as of 2023 (see analysis methods).
  • Average soft white pan bread bake absorption is 56.1% and loaf volume is 696 cc. Blends of hard wheat with up to 20% SW should produce acceptable pan breads, especially from higher protein SW.
  • Chinese southern-type steamed bread values for Club, and medium and high protein SW composites scored similar to or better than the control due to greater volume and whiter internal crumb color. Specific volume and total score averages are SW 2.7 mL/g, 70.8 and Club 2.7 mL, 70.7, respectively.

The 2023 U.S. wheat harvest has ended and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) published its final weekly Harvest Report Oct. 6. This year’s first Harvest Report appeared May 19 and was published every Friday afternoon (Eastern Time) throughout the season with updates and comments on harvest progress, crop conditions for hard red winter (HRW), soft red winter (SRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and northern durum wheat.

#1 HAD

U.S. hard amber durum kernels.The final northern durum weekly report showed that compared to the prior week, wheat moisture increased to 11.4%, falling number increased to 416 sec and HVAC decreased from 81% to 80%. Compared to 2022, protein content, 1000-kernel weight, and percent damaged kernels were higher while falling number, test weight and shrunken and broken kernels were lower. The overall grade remained U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD).

The Durum wheat Quality & Pasta Processing Laboratory at North Dakota State University is completing testing on the composites for the full northern durum regional crop quality report and USW’s 2023 Crop Quality Report.

Important Resource

Harvest Report is a key component of USW’s international technical and marketing programs as 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.

Anyone may subscribe to receive the Harvest Report directly to their email inbox by filling out a quick form found at this link.

The accumulated quality data gathered during the season and reported in Harvest Report builds to the annual USW Crop Quality Report coming soon. USW thanks the many partner organizations who support this work and Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley for managing these important reports.


Federal officials including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined Washington state lawmakers and university leaders in early August for the groundbreaking of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Plant Sciences Building on the Washington State University (WSU) campus in Pullman.

ARS is USDA’s “in-house research agency” focused on delivering scientific solutions to national and global agricultural challenges. ARS conducts wheat quality research through four regional Wheat Quality Laboratories (WQLs) focused on wheat types commonly grown in its region, including the Western Wheat Quality Laboratory also located at WSU. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has strong partnerships with each WQL as well as universities like WSU.

The new building at WSU is planned for opening in 2025. The WSU Plant Pathology, Crop and Soil Sciences, and Horticulture departments will inhabit the new building alongside federal scientists and four ARS research units: Wheat Health, Genetics and Quality; Grain Legume Genetics and Physiology; Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems; and Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, more than 150 guests listened as speakers discussed the 20-year path to securing support for this new facility.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at a podium with the USDA seal addressing participants in a ground breaking ceremony for a new ARS Plant Sciences Building at Washington State University (WSU).

U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. WSU Photo.

Secretary Vilsack asked attendees to think ahead to a future when the facility is completed, bustling with students, faculty, and researchers looking to solve the problems facing farmers in Washington and far beyond.

“There’s an effort to try to make sure that we understand how to deal with a particular disease that is impacting wheat production. And imagine the spark, the passion, the energy, the excitement that occurs when the solution is discovered. That’s what this facility is about, that moment of discovery,” he said.

Vilsack noted the new facility will not only be a place for discovery but also a resource that farmers both local and far afield of the Palouse will benefit from in the form of new techniques and greater insight into the vital work they do.

“To the extent that we have a university and a government research entity in partnership, ensuring that farmer, that rancher, that grower, that producer, can continue to be productive is an enormous opportunity for this country, and each one of us should be thankful at this groundbreaking for the science that’ll take place that’ll help these farmers, ranchers, and producers continue to productive,” Vilsack said.

Elizabeth Chilton, the inaugural chancellor of the WSU Pullman campus, noted that the groundbreaking represented much more than the beginning of a new research facility.

“It is evidence of the incredible partnership that WSU celebrates with USDA and our local, state, and federal legislators, commissioners, and communities,” Chilton said. “The groundbreaking research that this facility will support will literally change lives. This building will support faculty members, students, and researchers partnering together to create better crops and more sustainable farming practices so that we’re able to better feed our planet.”

Guests and dignitaries attending a ground breaking ceremony at Washington State University (WSU) for a new ARS Plant Sciences Building.

Washington Grain Commission Vice President Mary Palmer Sullivan (second from right) was among dignitaries and guests at the USDA-ARS Plant Sciences Building Groundbreaking ceremony on the campus of Washington State University Aug. 1, 2023. WSU Photo.

In addition to representatives from the federal government and Washington state agriculture groups (including Washington Grain Commission Vice President Mary Palmer Sullivan), WSU Board of Regents Chair Lisa Schauer and Regent Brent Blankenship, a Washington state wheat farmer and Past President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, also attended the events.

This article includes excerpts and photographs from an article in “WSU Insider” by RJ Wolcott. Read more here.


As expected, the results of the 2023 Hard Winter Wheat Tour the week of May 15 confirmed the extremely short wheat crop in Kansas and surrounding states. Typically, the market reaction would be bullish. But 2023 is not a typical year, and the volatile uncertainty of the Black Sea conflict once again overshadowed basic supply and demand factors.

After following six routes throughout central and western Kansas, far southern Nebraska and far northern Oklahoma, for three days, the average calculated yield average for fields that will be harvested was 30 bushels per acre (bu/a). Kansas Wheat reported that the official tour projection for total wheat production in Kansas is 178 million bushels (4.85 million metric tons) compared to the 5-year average of 303 million bushels.

In spite of that bullish news, the latest extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative pushed markets down. From May 15 through the end of the tour May 18, the HRW July futures contract lost $0.41. July hard red spring futures lost $0.45 and July soft red winter was down $0.49.

Reuters Photo showing farmer Gary Millershaski examining a stand of drought-stressed wheat during the 2023 Wheat Quality Council 2023 Hard Winter Wheat Tour.

Gary Millershaski, a farmer and scout on the Wheat Quality Council’s Kansas wheat tour, inspects winter wheat stunted by drought near Syracuse, Kan. Photo Copyright Reuters.

People Wanted to See This Crop

The annual Wheat Quality Council (WQC) winter wheat tour always attracts the market’s attention, this year even more so. More than 100 hard red winter wheat crop stakeholders participated, up from about 80 “scouts” in 2022, perhaps to see for themselves just how bad the crop is in the country’s leading hard red winter (HRW) wheat producing state.

“There’s just a general increase in interest this year,” WQC Executive Director Dave Green said to Progressive Farmer/DTN before the tour. “A lot of the big [milling and wheat food] companies want to have people on the ground and not just hear about it from someone else. People want to see this crop.”

Based on May 1 data, USDA estimated total 2023 U.S. HRW production at its lowest level since 1957/58. That includes USDA’s estimated average of 29 bu/a in Kansas. In fact, the wheat tour estimated average yield at 29.8 bu/a on Day 1 and 27.5 bu/a on Day 2 in the hard-hit western region.

Abandonment X-Factor

Wheat tour scouts were instructed to only calculate yield estimates for fields that have the potential to be harvested for grain, and not to calculate yields for abandoned fields. Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin noted that the 178 million bushel Kansas production estimate is a compilation from field evaluations throughout all 3 days on the tour, individual estimates of abandonment, and potential from this point until harvest. Estimates from scout estimates are pooled and averaged and that is the final production number that the WQC Tour issues at the end of the tour.

USDA NASS on May one estimated Kansas wheat production at 181 million bushels in its May Wheat Outlook. Assessing abandonment, it pegged the harvested-to-planted ratios for Kansas at 81% compared to a long-term average of 93%. Including Oklahoma at 47% (with an average yield potential of 23 bu/a), Texas at 30%, and Colorado at 73%, all are historically low.

Kansas Wheat pointed out that the wheat tour captures a moment in time for fields across the state that are still 3 to 6 weeks from harvest. The WQC coordinates this effort by breeders, producers, and processors to improve wheat and flour quality. The primary goals of the tour are to make connections within the wheat industry, allow participants to meet wheat farmers and see the growing crop, and to highlight the agriculture industry.

Photo at the top of this page from Twitter shows a field near Haven, Kan., with an estimated yield potential of 10 b/ac. Photo Copyright, Corbin Catt/Catt & Crew Farms. See more photos and other information by searching #wheattour23.


Educators describe internal training sessions as “learning so we can teach.” The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) version for its staff dives a few rungs deeper than that.

“The goal is to learn and do so we can, in turn, teach our customers around the world,” is how Miguel Galdos, Regional Director of the USW South American Region Office, puts it.

USW recently hosted – and participated in – the 2023 Core Competency Training, held this year in Santiago, Chile. Much more than a simple training session, the USW workshop brought together USW technical staff, board members and partners for a series of reviews and refreshers on wheat research, product development, market updates and strategy building. Meeting the needs of U.S. wheat buyers, end-users and consumers around the globe was the mission.

USW staff, board members and partners recently participated in the 2023 Core Competency Training in Santiago, Chile. The training sessions were designed to provide participants with tools to help share information and work with customers of U.S. wheat around the world.

USW staff, board members and partners recently participated in the 2023 Core Competency Training in Santiago, Chile. The training sessions were designed to provide participants with tools to help share information and work with U.S. wheat customers around the world.

At this year’s Core Competency Training,  USW was able to take advantage of the new flour milling, cereal chemistry and baking laboratory it opened two years ago in partnership with Universidad Mayor.  Built on the university’s Santiago campus, the lab is equipped with a test flour mill, wheat and flour analysis instruments and bread ovens.

“It was an unbeatable opportunity to bring together USW colleagues and be able to review relevant issues regarding many things, including our U.S. wheat crop quality analysis methods,” said Galdos. “Participants also had the opportunity to compare baking results with different origins of wheat, as well as share success experiences in each of the international markets. Additionally, we had the opportunity to evaluate future instances of collaboration with partner organizations that provide support to USW.”

USW Past Chair Darin Padget and current Chair work together on a baking assignment during the Core Competency Training in Santiago.

USW Past Chair Darren Padget and current Chair Rhonda Larson work together on a baking assignment during the Core Competency Training in Santiago.

Experiences during the Core Competency Training is fundamental: U.S. wheat is the most reliable choice, and its quality is unmatched. So information provided during the workshop is designed to help USW staff share information about U.S. wheat’s advantages when it comes to end-products, such as noodles, crackers, biscuits, tortillas, breads, and other baked products.

There is also a chance to meet with staff from other offices to share information.

Oregon wheat farmer and USW Past Chairman Darren Padget, Minnesota wheat farmer and USW Chair Rhonda Larson, and North Dakota wheat farmer Jim Pellman participated in this year’s training. The noted that the opportunity for USW colleagues to train together is very valuable.

“The format is very focused and was a great way to make sure the technical and marketing teams are pulling on the same oar in every market,” Padget said.

USW staff took time to memorialize the late Mark Fowler, USW’s Vice President of Global Technical Services, who passed away Feb, 20. Fowler was instrumental in creating the USW Core Competency Training program. He also played a major role in the development of the new laboratory in Santiago where USW has now placed a plaque in his memory.


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is encouraged that technology company Syngenta expects to have commercial-scale hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) hybrid wheat seed available for U.S. farmers within the next three years.

Hybrid wheat’s primary value is demonstrated in a productive yield increase. This is needed by farmers around the world to offset the currently limited profitability of growing single-line wheat varieties. It is also needed to continue meeting record-setting use of wheat by a growing global population.

Jon Rich, head of hybrid wheat operations at Syngenta, recently told Successful Farming magazine that hybrid wheat should increase yields by 10% to 12% over current varieties. He said there is also the potential for more stable production across a variety of growing conditions. Hybridization also allows breeders to “stack” native and non-GM traits into wheat seed more precisely and efficiently than other breeding methods.

In addition to disease and insect resistance, and functional quality improvement, Rich said “we’re looking at sustainability traits, such as nitrogen use efficiency and water use efficiency,” something that could be very valuable in the future.

Spring Wheat Hybrids First

USW member state commissions in the norther plains have confirmed that several farmers worked with Syngenta to plant hybrid HRS wheat in 2022. Additional hybrid “proof of performance” testing will continue this year on an estimated 1,000 acres according to the company’s head of North American cereals, Paul Morano. He told Successful Farming he expects two hybrid HRS lines will be available for a full launch in 2025.

Morano said similar testing with HRW hybrid lines will take place with the 2023/24 and 2024/25 crops with a full commercial launch expected in 2026 in two Syngenta AgriPro® hybrid lines.

Aerial photos of a wheat production research facility with fields, buildings and people at Junction City, Kansas, operated by Syngenta.

Syngenta’s hybrid development work in North America is coordinated by the Syngenta Wheat Research Center of Excellence in Junction City, Kan. Photo courtesy of Syngenta and Lance Visser.

Challenging Research

There is no doubt that hybrid wheat development has had its challenges. With a complex plant like wheat with three whole genomes in each cell and often six copies of each gene, that process is quite complex. The work requires many years and collaboration with a wide range of scientific disciplines, including wheat quality specialists who test the wheat for grade and functional milling, baking, and processing standards.

In 2018, USW was encouraged by hybrid research by Bayer Crop Science that was later transferred to BASF. Unfortunately, on March 1, 2023, BASF announced it was abandoning its North American hybrid wheat research, and the scientists who were conducting the work.

While hybrid wheat will have to prove itself in widespread, commercial use, it is good news for farmers and their customers that Syngenta is making a proper start.

“As we start to learn about this technology – and what else it can deliver to the farmer above and beyond yield, and how can we leverage the other inputs they put onto their crop – that’s a really big deal,” Rich said.

Photo at top of this page courtesy of Syngenta