Wheat Letter recently reported on how improving U.S. wheat quality takes cooperation between people and industries around the world. Following up on the post about the Wheat Quality Council (WQC) meeting on Feb. 23, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo., this post is excerpted from a story in about best management practices for growing more and improved hard red winter (HRW).

At the WQC meeting, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Vice President and West Coast Office Director Steve Wirsching emphasized that breeding wheat for higher yields and improved quality is crucial to continue serving domestic and overseas wheat buyers.

Growing wheat is often challenging, but recent adverse environmental conditions have made the venture even more so. Extreme drought and sometimes high winds without rain to relieve parched fields have ravaged the nation’s hard red winter wheat growing regions.

Breeding Protects HRW from Bad Weather

Portrait of Justin Gilpin, CEO, Kansas Wheat

Justin Gilpin, CEO, Kansas Wheat

 Justin Gilpin, Chief Executive Officer of Kansas Wheat, noted at the WQC meeting that as of late February, 85% to 90% of U.S. HRW were growing under drought conditions, based on USDA and U.S. Drought Monitor data. He showed most wheat crops across the hard winter wheat belt was rated poor to very poor, although conditions have improved slightly since then. At the same time, Gilpin suggested that the winter wheat surviving the drought was doing so because of its quality, proving that plant breeders’ investments have been worth the effort invested in public breeding programs by farmers, universities and governments.

Quality and Yield

The article continued with a summary of regional and national programs to help farmers maximize wheat quality as well as its yield. One of the most recognized programs is the annual National Wheat Yield Contest, which is coordinated by the National Wheat Foundation [USW is a co-sponsor of the contest]. And while the word “quality” is missing from that title, it is certainly a component of the contest, said Gilpin. Trying to bridge the gap between wheat producers and users, the contest now aims to recognize high-yielding and industry-desired high-quality wheat.

Another initiative dedicated to helping farmers produce high-quality wheat with high yields is the Kansas “Wheat Rx” program, a partnership between Kansas Wheat and Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Stronger Flour Needed

“The importance of management and ‘Wheat Rx’ as the prescription for high-yielding and high-quality wheat are, together, the new priorities for wheat production in the state,” Gilpin said. He added that U.S. flour millers want to supply higher quality, stronger flours for bakers, a desire shared by overseas millers.

Kansas Wheat "Wheat Rx" logo

Kansas Wheat Rx is a prescription for economical and sustainable production of high-yielding and high-quality wheat.

At the WQC meeting, Kansas Wheat Vice President of Research and Operations Aaron Harries and Kansas State University Research and Extension Agronomist Romulo Lollato shared their insights and research from the collaborative program. They said the Kansas Wheat Rx focus is to help producers identify the best wheat varieties for their specific environment and production practices.

For centuries, wheat has fed the world. Ensuring strong and high-quality varieties through modern plant breeding, along with maximizing yield potential, will sustain wheat’s role in feeding future generations.


Wheat quality improvement is at the heart of the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) mission to enhance the value of U.S. wheat for overseas customers and profitability for U.S. wheat producers. Improved quality makes U.S. wheat more competitive in global markets and, in turn, increased demand benefits producers at home.

USW cooperates with stakeholders across the domestic and international industries to encourage U.S. wheat quality improvement.

Active Participation

Activities include past Wheat Quality Improvement Teams connecting U.S. wheat breeders with overseas customers to better understand the most important quality characteristics they need. Also, USW is helping fund milling and baking quality testing for entries in the 2022 National Wheat Yield Contest sponsored by the National Wheat Foundation (winning entries must meet specific quality standards). USW also puts wheat quality improvement in the spotlight at producer meetings.

Image shows HRW wheat breeders meeting with customers in Lima, Peru, to discuss U.S. wheat quality improvement.

Breeders with Customers. The most recent USW-sponsored Wheat Quality Improvement Team in December 2018 took U.S. hard red winter wheat breeders to Peru (above) and other Latin American countries to better understand what wheat quality customers need. USW photo.

Most recently, USW Vice President and Director, West Coast Office, Steve Wirsching, and Assistant Director Tyllor Ledford participated in a Wheat Quality Council meeting in Kansas City, Mo. This is an annual forum where wheat breeders from the Great Plains states gather to review the latest results of ongoing wheat quality studies.

Honest Evaluation

“It is a challenging task for wheat breeders to develop varieties that deliver higher yields for the producer and better functional quality for end-users,” Wirsching said. “But the data shows they are doing just that. And one reason is breeders hear the honest evaluation of about how the varieties they developed performed in the field at meetings like this.”

At the meeting, Wirsching reviewed how U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat quality has trended over ten years using data from the USW Crop Quality Reports that Ledford had prepared. He showed breeders that HRS yields are increasing about one-half bushel per year while also meeting high breeding quality targets for kernel soundness and flour performance.

Moreover, he showed HRS genetic advancements were achieved even across variable growing conditions in the Northern Plains production region of Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

Pushing for Improvement

USW also pushes to improve wheat quality and value by acknowledging areas where breeders can improve quality, such as water absorption. Absorption is an important quality characteristic valued in the export market to help bakers optimize their profits. Wirsching noted that the HRS ten-year crop average water absorption was 63%, which did not meet the HRS breeding target of 64% as measured by the farinograph.

Producers Can Also Help

Producing high-quality, high-performing wheat also takes best management practices on the farm. At the Wheat Quality Council meeting, Wirsching encouraged public wheat industries to develop producer outreach programs like Kansas’s “Wheat Rx” effort. Wheat Rx is a partnership between Kansas Wheat and Kansas State University Research and Extension to share the latest research recommendations for high-yielding, high-quality wheat to Kansas wheat farmers.

Image shows Steve Wirsching, USW, discussing wheat quality improvement at the Wheat Quality Council meeting.

Best Management Practices. At the Wheat Quality Council meeting, Wirsching encouraged public wheat industries to develop producer outreach programs to promote continuous wheat quality improvement. Photo by Romulo Lollato.

Other efforts will include preferred variety lists (PVL), which rank wheat varieties by quality and help wheat producers make informed decisions based on quality outcomes and yield potential.

Published PVLs are helping improve soft white wheat quality in Washington, Oregon and Idaho,” Wirsching said. “Also, Grain Craft, a private milling company, is now publishing a PVL for hard red winter wheat, which is influencing variety selection in the Central Plains states.”

After attending the meeting, Assistant Director Tyllor Ledford said the Wheat Quality Council is a uniquely collaborative organization.

Building Dependable Value

“Stakeholders like breeders, farmers, millers, bakers, state wheat commissions, and export organizations all come together to pursue a common goal,” she said. “And the product of this cooperation is making quality improvement a priority so that U.S. wheat can remain a dependable value to our customers around the world.”

Future Wheat Quality Council meetings are scheduled to focus on U.S. soft red winter and soft white wheat quality. Look for more information about these and other events focused on wheat quality in future Wheat Letter posts.


This article on wheat digestibility is reprinted with permission from Prairie Grains and written by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). Additional thanks to the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, a member of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).

In past issues of Prairie Grains Magazine, [AURI has] highlighted ongoing research investigating ways to reduce potentially reactive components of wheat, like FODMAPs and ATIs. FODMAPs are sugars, known as fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. ATIs are proteins called amylase-trypsin inhibitors. Research indicates that “anti-nutrients,” such as ATIs, and fructans (a component of FODMAPs) in wheat have been identified as triggers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Not By Gluten Alone

There is a growing understanding that wheat digestibility issues may not be solely caused by gluten sensitivity but are also related to the presence of FODMAPs and ATIs. According to Dr. George Annor, assistant professor of cereal chemistry and technology at the University of Minnesota, FODMAPs are normally present in small quantities and tolerated by most.

However, foods with more than 0.3 grams per serving (the equivalent of two slices or more of bread) … can cause issues. FODMAPs are best tolerated if less than 0.3 grams per serving.

For individuals with this sensitivity, changes to wheat characteristics or processing techniques can result in more digestible products, increasing quality of life for consumers and allowing them to enjoy the health benefits of wheat products.

There is a growing understanding that wheat digestibility issues may not be solely caused by gluten sensitivity but are also related to the presence of FODMAPs and ATIs.

Conducted through a partnership between the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council (MWRPC), the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and its Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, as well as Back When Foods, Inc., this research has the potential to create new products and processes that will positively impact the entire wheat industry value chain.

The hypothesis set for this research is that ATIs and FODMAPS can be reduced through breeding programs and processing techniques (i.e. sourdough fermentation) of modern, heritage and ancient wheat. The reason this topic is important to wheat growers and the entire industry is researchers’ belief these reactive components are triggers of non-celiac gluten sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which cause many people to avoid wheat-based products. Instead, they look for less-reactive products, thus reducing the overall consumption of wheat-based products impacting the industry overall. Until now.

The MWRPC and its partners undertook this endeavor in order to create new opportunities for wheat-based products, consumable by those with wheat digestion concerns. Additionally, the study has the potential to provide new market opportunities that could have a positive financial impact for growers, the wheat industry and Minnesota.

Sliced pan bread and artisan bread loaves for article on wheat digestibility

Research suggests that wheat breeding has not increased FODMAP nor ATI levels in modern wheat varieties.

“We have identified significant variation in FODMAP and ATI levels in a diverse panel of wheat varieties, including among modern wheat germplasm,” said Dr. James Anderson, professor of wheat breeding and genetics at the U of M. “This variation may allow us to selectively breed for lower levels of these anti-nutrients. The ancient Einkorn and Emmer wheats were consistently low in FODMAPs, and Einkorn was also low in ATIs.”

Annor said research shows that sourdough production can help reduce the amount of FODMAPS and ATIs in wheat.

“Screening the ancient, heritage and modern wheat varieties for their FODMAPs and ATI gave us important insights into how these parameters vary in different wheat varieties,” Annor said. “It was apparent that we have not inherently bred them for increased levels of FODMAPs and ATI over the years. Our study also showed that fermentation was very effective in reducing FODMAPs and ATI levels in wheat in the form of sourdough. These results tell us that sourdough production can be effectively used to reduce the levels of FODMAPs and ATIs in wheat.”

New Approaches

Coupled with breeding efforts to reduce the levels of anti-nutrients in wheat lines, the degradation of FODMAPs and ATIs through sourdough fermentation provides immediate opportunities for wheat growers to regain market share by focusing their efforts on channeling their crops directly to the ever-growing artisan bakery sector. An additional channel for growers to use the research findings is in support of ongoing breeding programs and low FODMAP certification, in which large-scale processors have shown great interest.

“Both FODMAP and ATI levels appear to be under complex genetic control,” Anderson said, “thus making the selective breeding of these traits more difficult. But I’m optimistic that we can make breeding progress.” Anderson added that new approaches involving DNA sequencing and genomic prediction will be used to enhance our breeding efforts to reduce FODMAP and ATI levels.

As the project researchers and partners continue to seek ways to have a meaningful impact on the wheat industry overall, plans are underway to continue to build upon these recent findings in a second phase that focuses on further development of wheat varieties that not only have improved digestibility but also have high amylose and resistant starch content for a lower glycemic index and improved gut health (microbiome).

Financial support for this project is provided by an Agricultural Growth, Research, & Innovation Crop Research Grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The AGRI program awards grants, scholarships and cost shares to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries.

For more information about the AGRI program, visit To learn more about AGRI Crop Research Grants, visit For more information, and to follow this research, visit


This year has once again provided its share of uncertainty for wheat producers, handlers and buyers. We have seen challenges from drought, variable trade policies and the ongoing global pandemic. Through it all, the entire U.S. wheat industry remained fixed on providing the highest quality wheat for almost every customer need, backed by transparent pricing, trusted third-party certification and unmatched service before and after the sale.

As a key part of its commitment to transparency and trade service, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has produced its annual Crop Quality Report that includes grade, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes. The report compiles comprehensive data from 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.

2021 USW Crop Quality ReportThe 2021 USW Crop Quality Report is now available for download in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and Portuguese. Chinese translations will be available soon. USW also shares more detailed, regional reports for all six U.S. wheat classes on its website, as well as additional information on its sample and collection methods, solvent retention capacity (SRC) recommendations, standard deviation tables and more. View and download these reports and resources here.

New Resources

USW continues to provide unique ways for our customers to experience and gain more knowledge about the 2021 U.S. wheat crop. New this year, USW has expanded its Crop Quality page on its primary website to include unique, individual pages for each of its six wheat classes. When viewing the website, users can access these new pages via the “Crop Quality” tab in the main menu across the top of the website.

For a second year, the pandemic has changed other traditional parts of the USW Crop Quality outreach effort. At, customers will find a variety of pre-recorded presentations covering 2021 U.S. wheat crop quality data and analysis, as well as several special topics in English or captioned versions in several different languages.

As always, USW local representatives are ready to help customers review their purchase specifications to receive the best value possible. For more information, please contact your local USW office here.

Continue to look for 2021 USW Crop Quality updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


2021 hard white (HW) wheat samples show good quality performance in milling, dough properties and finished products, including pan breads, Asian noodles and steamed breads. The Pacific Northwest (PNW), California and Southern Plains composites all show good bread baking potential according to their respective protein contents. For Asian noodle applications, 60% extraction patent flour is recommended to improve noodle color while maintaining noodle texture. For steamed breads, it is recommended that high protein HW flour be blended with a portion of soft white (SW) flour to improve product quality.

map of 2021 hard white wheat production and sampling

Production of the 2021 hard white crop is 0.71 MMT, up 13% over last year.  Much of the increase is due to additional seeded acres and good production in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. Spring seeded HW was down due to the drought, which trimmed yields in southern Idaho.

2021 Crop Highlights

  • Grade average for six of the eight composites is U.S. No. 1. The low- and med-protein Southern Plains composites graded U.S. No. 2 due primarily to low test weights.
  • Test Weight ranged from 58.4 to 63.2 lb/bu (76.9 to 83.1 kg/hl).
  • Wheat Moisture ranged from 8.9 to 11.7%
  • Wheat Protein ranged from 11.0 to 13.7% (12% mb).
  • 1000 Kernel Weight for the Southern Plains low- and California high-protein composites are 20.1 and 28.6 g, respectively. All others are greater than or equal to 30.0 g.
  • Kernel Characteristics include kernel hardness averages 42.5 to 84.2 and kernel diameters 2.46 to 2.71 mm.
  • Falling Number averages 349 sec or higher for all composites.
  • Laboratory Mill straight-grade flour extractions range 69.8 to 73.1%, L* values (whiteness) 91.2 to 92.1, flour protein 10.0 to 13.0% (14% mb) and flour ash 0.45 to 0.53% (14% mb).
  • Wet Gluten contents range 25.1 to 29.8% depending on flour protein content.
  • Amylograph peak viscosities are between 553 and 1051 BU for all composites.
  • Farinograph absorptions range 52.4 to 62.9% and stability times 7.3 to 35.1 min, exhibiting medium to strong dough characteristics. HW farinograph absorption indicates more tolerance to overmixing.
  • Extensograph at a 135 min rest shows maximum resistance in the range of 294 to 1203 BU, extensibility 6.2 to 18.4 cm and area 58 to 183 cm2. The Southern Plains low- and med-protein composites were 294 and 528 BU, respectively, and all other composites were greater than or equal to 885 BU.
  • Alveograph ranges are P (38 to 120 mm); L (83 to 137 mm); and W (107 to 393 (10-4 J)).
  • Damaged Starch values are in the range of 3.9 to 5.6%.
  • Lactic acid SRC values range from 86 to 153%, indicating weak to strong gluten strength. The range shrinks to 116 – 153% if the Southern Plains low-protein composite is removed from the set.
  • Bake Evaluation for all composites shows acceptable to good baking performance relative to protein content, with bake absorptions in the range of 57.6 to 67.8%, loaf volumes of 742 to 950 cc, and crumb grain and texture scores of 6.0 to 8.0 points.
  • Chinese Raw Noodles (white salted) L* values at 0 hr of production and after 24 hr of storage at room temperature are acceptable for the Southern Plains low- and med-protein composites. The sensory color stability scores for PNW and Southern Plains low- and med-protein composites are similar to or better than the control noodle of 7.0. Cooked noodle texture is softer for the California med-protein composite.
  • Chinese Wet Noodles (yellow alkaline) sensory color stability scores are slightly to moderately worse than the control for parboiled noodles from all composites. The cooked noodle texture is similar for all composites. Overall, this year’s HW samples will produce noodles with acceptable color and texture if low ash patent flour is used.
  • Steamed Bread results show higher protein composites have larger specific volumes with total scores equivalent to the control flour. Blending 25% SW flour with high protein HW flour may improve overall steamed bread quality.

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

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has posted more about the 2021 hard white crop here.

2021 Crop Quality Data on Other U.S. Wheat Classes

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Soft Red Winter
Soft White
Northern Durum
Desert Durum® And California Hard Red Winter


The U.S. 2021 Hard Red Spring (HRS) crop endured significant drought conditions, leading to a sharp yield reduction and increased abandonment. Despite the moisture stressed growing season, the quality parameters of the crop are very good, with high protein content, high vitreous levels, low kernel moisture and sound kernels. Buyers will be pleased with this year’s improved dough strength and higher absorption values. With reduced supply and isolated areas with higher levels of shrunken and broken and lighter 1000 kernel weights, buyers should always remain diligent in their contract specifications.

2021 map of 2021 hard red spring wheat production and sampling

Weather and Harvest

Limited moisture allowed for fast planting, but cool temperatures or overly dry topsoil delayed emergence in parts of the growing region. Above-average temperatures, minimal precipitation and high winds stressed a significant share of the crop. A dry, rapid harvest period limited disease pressures and benefitted kernel quality parameters. USDA estimates production at 8.1 million metric tons, 44% below last year.

2021 Crop Highlights

  • Grade – the overall average is U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring (DNS).
  • Test Weight averages 61.3 lb/bu (80.6 kg/hl), slightly lower than the 2020 and 5-year averages.
  • Vitreous Kernel Levels (DHV) improved, averaging 80% compared to 71% in 2020.
  • Protein averages 15.4% (12% mb), above 2020 and 5-year averages.
  • DON levels were near zero due to minimal disease pressures.
  • 1000 Kernel Weight average is 29 g, below 2020 and 5-year averages.
  • Falling Number average is 377 sec, benefited by a rapid, dry harvest.
  • Wet Gluten averages 37.4%, notably higher than 2020 and 5-year averages, supported by high kernel protein content.
  • Amylograph values average 732 BU for 65 g of flour, up notably from recent levels.
  • Farinograph testing indicates a much stronger crop than in recent years, with an average stability of 18.8 min.
  • Alveograph and Extensograph analyses show greater resistance and less extensibility.
  • Loaf Volume average is 952 cc, lower than 2020 and 5-year averages.
  • Bake Absorption average is 66.4%, down from 2020 but similar to the 5-year average.
  • Bread Scores are higher than 2020 and 5-year averages.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has posted more about the 2021 hard red spring crop here and the full regional report here.

2021 Crop Quality Data on Other U.S. Wheat Classes

Hard Red Winter
Soft Red Winter
Soft White
Northern Durum
Desert Durum® And California Hard Red Winter
Hard White


Buyers will find the 2021 Northern durum crop to be of high quality, especially for grading and kernel characteristics. Although lower than previous years, test weights are stronger than expected, and damage is low. There is no shortage of protein in this year’s crop, and falling number values indicate a sound crop. Lower 1000 kernel weights and a reduction in the percentage of large-sized kernels will likely reduce milling yields. Dough properties look to be strong as well as cooked pasta characteristics. The main issue buyers will face is lower supply levels. Customers should also continue to be diligent in contract specifications, given that a small portion of the crop did see some rainfall at harvest.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has posted the full 2021 Northern Durum Wheat Quality Report here.

2021 U.S. durum sampling data

Weather and Harvest

In the U.S. Northern Plains, Durum production is down by more than 50% from 2020 due to a small decline in acreage and sharply lower yields caused by severe drought. Throughout the growing season, overly dry soil conditions were a concern, and the dry conditions pushed crop development ahead of normal but kept disease pressures minimal. Most of the harvest was completed under dry conditions, allowing for excellent grading and kernel characteristics. Scattered rain delays toward the end of harvest affected some quality factors but did not significantly impact overall quality.

2021 Crop Highlights

  • Grade – the overall average is U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD).
  • Test Weight averages 60.5 lb/bu (78.8 kg/hl), below last year and five-year averages, due to drought pressure.
  • Damage was quite low at 0.1% due to minimal disease pressure.
  • Vitreous Kernel (Hvac) content is 86%, similar to last year and 5-year averages due to drought conditions.
  • Protein averages 15.5% (12% mb), higher than 2020; nearly 90% of the crop has a minimum protein of 14%.
  • 1000 Kernel Weight average is 41.2 g, a drop from last year’s high value of 46.7 and slightly below the 5-year average of 42.1, due to dry conditions during kernel fill.
  • Kernel Moisture was lower than average due to a mostly dry harvest period.
  • Falling Number values are high, with the average for the region being 428 sec.
  • Don is nearly non-existent in this year’s crop due to very minimal disease pressure.
  • Speck Counts are lower than last year and 5-year averages.
  • Semolina Protein is 14.2%, much higher than last year due to higher kernel protein.
  • Semolina Color values are similar to last year, with brightness and yellowness slightly lower.
  • Mixing Properties reveal a stronger crop than last year and the 5-year average.
  • Cooked Spaghetti Evaluations show color similar to the 5-year average and higher cooked weight and firmness. Cooking loss is higher than last year.

Read more about the 2021 Northern Durum wheat crop here.

2021 Crop Quality Data on Other U.S. Wheat Classes

Soft White
Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Soft Red Winter
Desert Durum® And California Hard Red Winter
Hard White


The Pacific Northwest (PNW) experienced challenging drought conditions in the 2021 soft white crop year, resulting in a wheat crop with higher protein and lower yields. This year’s SW crop has weak to medium gluten strength and acceptable finished product characteristics. SW is especially suited for use in cakes, pastries, cookies and snack foods. The high protein segment of the SW crop provides opportunities in blends for crackers, Asian noodles, steamed breads, flatbreads and pan breads. With very weak gluten strength, Club White is typically used in a Western White blend with SW for cakes and delicate pastries.

2021 U.S. soft white sampling data

Weather and Harvest

Winter planting conditions were generally good, including sufficient moisture overall to develop a strong stand; however, less winter moisture impacted crop development coming out of dormancy. Spring planting conditions were poor due to the very dry conditions and excessive heat throughout much of the PNW.

As the crop developed, extreme sustained heat in late June accelerated crop maturity in many areas, which put the harvest timeframe generally ahead of average. Production of the 2021 PNW SW crop is estimated at 4.3 MMT, the lowest for the region since 1966.

Buyers are encouraged to review their quality specifications to ensure that their purchases meet their expectations. This will be a good year to understand SW protein performance versus protein levels; your local U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) representative can help.

2021 Crop Highlights:

  • Grade – the overall averages are U.S. No. 2 Soft White and U.S. No. 1 White Club.
  • Test Weight averages are 59.3 lb/bu for SW and 59.7 lb/bu for WC.
  • Wheat Protein (12% mb) ranges from 8.1 to 11.9% for SW, with the weighted average 11.3%. Club averages 11.5%.
  • Wheat Moisture ranges from 8.7 to 9.7% for SW with a weighted average of 8.8%. Club averages 8.0%.
  • Wheat Falling Number average is 319 sec or higher for all SW composites and 345 sec for Club.
  • Wet Gluten contents for SW flour range from 8.4 to 24.5%, depending on flour protein content. Club averages 6.1%.
  • SRC lactic acid values range 91 to 109% for SW, indicating weak to medium gluten strength.
  • Amylograph peak viscosities for SW are between 472 and 542 BU for all composites. Club averages on amylograph peak viscosity of 529 BU.
  • Farinograph SW absorptions range from 51.5 to 53.1% with 2.2 to 2.6 min stability times, showing desirable weak dough characteristics. Average Club farinograph absorption is 51.1% with a stability of 1.1 min, showing very weak dough characteristics typical for Club.
  • Extensograph SW data at 45 min show maximum resistance in the range of 174 to 284 BU, extensibility 16.8 to 18.4 cm and area 46 to 79 cm2. Club extensograph 45 min maximum resistance, extensibility, and area are 107 BU, 17.2 cm, and 23 cm2, respectively.
  • Alveograph SW ranges include P values 37 to 42 mm; L values 57 to 68 mm; and W values 63 to 78 (10-4 J). Average Club alveograph P, L and W values of 27 mm, 43 mm, and 29 (10-4 J), respectively.
  • Sponge Cake SW volumes range from 1077 to 1104 cc, depending on protein content, with a weighted average of 1081 cc. Total sponge cake score is 33 to 49, with a weighted average of 35. Club sponge cake volume is 1070 cc with a total score of 34. Scores were lower due to firmer textures.
  • Cookie SW diameters are 8.6 to 8.7 cm with spread factors of 10.1 to 10.4. Club diameter and spread factor are 9.1 and 12.6 cm, respectively.
  • Chinese Southern-Type Steamed Bread specific volumes are 2.2 to 2.4 mL/g with total scores less than the control score of 70.0. Club specific volume is 2.3 mL/g with a total score below the control.

Read more about the 2021 soft white wheat crop here and view the full regional report here.

2021 Crop Quality Data on Other U.S. Wheat Classes

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Soft Red Winter
Northern Durum
Desert Durum® And California Hard Red Winter
Hard White


More than 100 milling industry leaders and their guests gathered for three days of education and networking during the recent 2021 North American Millers’ Association Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

“NAMA was proud to once again host milling executives from across North America at the NAMA Annual Meeting. NAMA Milling and Associate Members learned from expert speakers and set the course for NAMA’s work looking ahead into 2022 and beyond,” said NAMA President Jane DeMarchi. “As the pandemic recovery process moves forward and Capitol Hill and the Administration continue to act on industry priorities, NAMA’s role has never been more important.”

The general session presentations focused on critical topics facing the milling sector in 2021, including cybersecurity, sustainability, and workforce development. With a focus on U.S. wheat sustainable production, National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule told NAMA members that growers are producing more wheat on fewer acres.

Chandler Goule

Chandler Goule, CEO, National Association of Wheat Growers

“We know we have a great story,” Goule said. “We know we are sustainable. We know that when we are looking at what is coming ahead — whether through sustainability programs coming from the private sector or whether it is something coming in from the government.”

In an article about his presentation in, Goule did note that more research is required quantifying the environmental impact of wheat production and the industry is responding.

“What we don’t have is a life cycle assessment of the wheat production,” he said. “NAWG and NAWG Foundation are working with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) to work with a land grant university to determine how much water we use, what is our carbon footprint.”

To avoid the pitting of one wheat class against another, data will be aggregated between classes, Goule said. The work is expected to begin in November and will generate important information for the upcoming farm bill. Food companies also are asking for the data, which will provide a baseline against which improvement may be measured, Goule said.

The North American Millers’ Association is the only national trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the North American wheat, corn, oat, and rye milling industry before Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory bodies. Member companies operate mills in 31 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, representing more than 90 percent of total industry production capacity.


Variable growing conditions greatly influenced the 2021 hard red winter (HRW) wheat crop. In areas with favorable growing conditions, high yields resulted in lower protein but excellent kernel characteristics. However, regional swings in temperature and drought led to high protein, lower yields and smaller kernels.

As a result, the overall crop has generally good kernel characteristics with flour, dough and bake attributes equal to or better than last year and many of the 5-year averages. The loaf volumes achieved indicate there is sufficient protein quality to make pan bread that easily exceeds the U.S. quality target for loaf volume, with dough mix times and stabilities that are slightly greater than the 5-year average.

This crop meets or exceeds typical HRW contract specifications and should provide high value to customers.

Weather and Harvest

Planted area for the 2021 hard red winter crop recovered from last year’s historic lows with an estimated 9.6 million hectares (23.6 million acres) seeded in fall 2020, a 10% increase over last year.

Growing conditions varied among the HRW production regions. Eastern areas of the Southern and Central Great Plains experienced favorable growing conditions resulting in high yields, very good kernel characteristics, but lower protein. While western areas of the Southern and Central Plains experienced drought and record freeze events resulting in lower yields and smaller kernels, but higher protein. The Northern Great Plains and PNW suffered historic drought conditions that hurt yield and kernel characteristics.

Production of the 2021 HRW crop is estimated to be 20.4 million metric tons (MMT), up from 17.93 MMT in 2020 and above the 5-year average of 20.8 MMT.

With very few exceptions, disease and insect pressure were not major issues for the 2021 HRW crop.

2021 map of hard red winter wheat production and sampling

2021 U.S. Hard Red Winter harvest in Oklahoma

The Daniel Crossley Farm near Okarche, Okla., was a few days into the HRW wheat harvest on June 15, 2021. Custom harvester SJS Farms, Lorreto, Minn., provided the equipment and manpower to bring in the crop. Photo by Todd Johnson, Communications Specialist, Oklahoma State University.

2021 Crop Highlights

  • The Composite average grade for the 2021 hard red winter harvest survey is U.S. No. 1 HRW. Despite challenging growing conditions in some regions, overall, 84% of Composite, 85% of Gulf-tributary and 83% of PNW-tributary samples graded U.S. No. 2 or better.
  • Test weight Composite average is 79.5 kg/hl (60.4 lb/bu), indicative of sound wheat.
  • Protein content distribution varies by growing region; Composite average is 11.9% (12% mb), equal to last year but below the 5-year average.
  • Composite averages for dockage (0.5%), total defects (1.7%), and foreign materials (0.3%) are above 2020 and 5-year averages.
  • Shrunken and broken kernels (0.8 %), values reflect the environmental challenges for this year’s crop.
  • Wheat falling number Composite average is 372 sec, indicative of sound wheat.
  • The Buhler lab mill extraction Composite average is 74.9%, above last year but below the 5-year average.
  • Flour ash Composite average of 0.50% (14% mb) is comparable to last year and 5-year averages.
  • Farinograph peak and stability times of 5.1 and 9.3 min, respectively, are shorter than last year but higher than the 5-year average.
  • Dough properties suggest that this crop has similar resistance to extension (tenacity) to both last year and the 5-year average, but slightly weaker dough strength (Alveograph W value) compared to last year and the 5-year average. Dough extensibility was significantly lower than last year but similar to the 5-year average.
  • Average bake absorption is 62.1%, below last year but comparable to the 5-year average.
  • Average loaf volume of 877 cc is well above last year and 5-year averages, indicative of acceptable baking quality.

Read more about the 2021 U.S. hard red winter wheat crop here and the full regional report here.

2021 Crop Quality Data on Other U.S. Wheat Classes

Hard Red Spring
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Northern Durum
Desert Durum® And California Hard Red Winter
Hard White