Challenging Weather Limits New Crop Spring Wheat Harvest; Good Quality Still Available
The 2019 U.S. hard red spring wheat (HRS) crop is one of contrasts with above average yields and high protein, but with key kernel parameters impacted by harvest rains. Due to the unusual harvest conditions and delay, the entire crop is not represented in this year’s data. Functional performance of the 2019 crop shows weaker dough properties and lower absorption but excellent baking properties. Premium quality will command higher prices, but good value can be obtained with diligent contract specifications. Ample carryover from the excellent quality 2018 crop will be helpful in meeting traditional quality needs of buyers.
That is a summary of the major regional results for HRS from the upcoming U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) 2019 Crop Quality Report. The HRS Wheat Quality Lab at North Dakota State University collected and analyzed 781 HRS samples collected from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington state. Funding for the annual survey come from USW member state wheat commissions and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Complete 2019 crop quality data for all six U.S. wheat classes will soon be available online and at annual USW Crop Quality Seminars.
Weather and Harvest: Planting begin in late April and was slow but ended in early June. Frequent and widespread rains developed across the region in mid-June, boosting yield potential but also elevating disease pressures. Harvest began slowly in mid-August with about 50% of the crop harvested by Sept. 1. By mid-September, record rains interrupted harvest and affected the quality of the remaining crop. About 10% of the crop will not be harvested. Regional production is estimated at 559 mil bu (15.2 MMT), up 8% percent from the 5-year average but down 5% from 2018 on reduced planted area.
Wheat and Grade Data: For the portion of the crop surveyed, the average grade is U.S. No. 1 Northern Spring (NS), down from No. 1 Dark Northern Spring (DNS) in 2018; 85% of Eastern Region samples and 87% of Western Region samples grade U.S. No. 1. Average test weight of 60.7 lb/bu (79.8 kg/hl) is lower than 2018 and the 5-year average. Average damage is 1.0%, up notably from 2018 with higher damage levels in Eastern samples. Overly wet harvest conditions resulted in a very low vitreous kernel (DHV) average of 52% compared to the 5-year average of 74%. Average DHV is 61% for Western samples and 44% for Eastern.
Even with record yields and low DHV, the crop averages 14.4% (12% mb) protein, similar to 2018 and slightly above the 5-year average, which adds value to the crop. Western average protein is 14.4%, down marginally from 2018, while Eastern average protein held steady at 14.3%. One-half of all samples have greater than 14.5% protein in 2019 with just 18% below 13.5% protein.The heaviest pressure from Fusarium head blight occurred across southern parts of the region. The crop’s overall DON average is 0.6 ppm, up from 0.3 ppm in 2018. Average thousand kernel weight (TKW) is 31 g, similar to the 5-year average. Falling numbers (FN) across the entire region averaged 339 sec, down from 403 in 2018.
Flour, Dough and Baking Data: Buhler laboratory mill flour yield averages 68.4%, higher than 2018 and the 5-year average. Flour ash increased slightly to 0.54%, compared to 0.52% a year ago. Wet gluten averages 34%, slightly lower than 2018. Amylograph values average 406 BU for 65 g of flour, down sharply from 2018 and the 5-year average, with the lowest values in Eastern samples.
Farinograph indicates the crop has 1.3 percentage point lower absorption compared to 2018, but similar to the 5-year average, with Western area average at 63.6% and Eastern area at 62.1%. The average farinograph stability is 10.1 min, lower than 2018 and the 5-year average. Dough strength is similar across the region with the Eastern crop declining more compared to the 2018 crop and with no correlating increase at higher protein levels; the Western area does show increased dough strength at higher protein levels.
Alveograph and extensograph analyses show more extensibility and less resistance. The average alveograph P/L ratio is 0.61 compared to 0.72 in 2018, and the W-value is 342 (10-4 J), down from 415 last year. The overall extensibility and resistance to extension of the 135 min extensograph are 15.6 cm and 639 BU, notably more extensible than 2018 crop values of 13.2 and 855.
The average loaf volume is 1026 cc, up notably from 973 in 2018; Western area averages 1004 cc and Eastern area averages 1046 cc. Average bake absorption is 67.6%, down from 2018 but higher than the 5-year average. Bread scores are similar to 2018 with the Western area scoring slightly higher than the Eastern area.