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