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.
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