A Mid-Season Look at the U.S. Winter Wheat Harvest for Buyers
U.S. farmers are making good progress now on the second half of their 2018 winter wheat harvests and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) wants to provide a mid-season look at winter wheat harvest and quality in this “Wheat Letter” entry. USW publishes a new Harvest Report every Friday on this website.
Soft Red Winter (SRW) harvest of a crop that was quite affected by rain throughout the growing season is now complete. Planted area was up somewhat compared to last year’s record low level. With abundant rain, yields were above average for the year but test weights from crops in both the East Coast and Gulf port tributaries are less than last year and the 5-year average. That knocks down the U.S. Grade for this crop to #3 SRW. DON levels are slightly higher in 2018 but are below the 5-year average. Processers should find good qualities for crackers overall and for cookies from segments of the crop. With higher protein and good extensibility, the crop should also be valuable for blending for baking applications. USW will post the final SRW quality report within the next few weeks.
Hard Red Winter (HRW) harvest is more than 80 percent complete and buyers should want to take a very good look at the 2018 crop. Starting with another record low planted area, USDA believes farmers will harvest 17.9 million metric tons (MMT) of HRW this year or 12 percent less than in 2017. That amount is likely to change as USDA measures the effects of abandoned area in drought stressed areas of the Southern Plains. For buyers, however, this is a very good supply of HRW with composite protein holding at 12.6% (12% moisture) and test weights at 79.7 kg/hl (60.6 lb/bu). Quality reports from Montana’s harvest are even better. While flour and dough properties are just being measured for this crop, domestic millers and processors are saying they like what they see in this HRW crop.
Soft White (SW) winter wheat growing conditions across the Pacific Northwest (PNW) were nearly ideal for the 2018 crop. As of Aug. 3, the PNW SW harvest was 55% complete in Oregon (sadly aided by destructive fires in the north-central part of the state), 28% in Washington and 12% in Idaho. Industry sources say continued dry weather has pushed progress beyond those levels since early this week. Dryland yields are well above normal and early quality analysis indicate good test weight at 61.8 lb/bu (81.3 kg/hl), very low moisture content at 8.4%, low protein at 9.4% (12% moisture basis), and sound falling number value at 305 seconds.
We hope you will subscribe to USW’s Harvest Report and if you want to ask questions about this year’s crops or about other topics related to U.S. wheat and U.S. wheat exports, visit our new “Ask the Expert” section of this website at https://www.uswheat.org/market-and-crop-information/ask-the-expert/.