Ron Rubin grows Desert Durum® under irrigation near Brawley, Cal., in the Imperial Valley. He reports that while production is down slightly with a lower planted area, the crop remains consistent and a very reliable source of high-quality durum to end-use customers.
“The 2023 crop produced above average yields with ideal growing conditions throughout the season,” Rubin said. “We estimate that 99 percent of the Imperial Valley crop graded Number One HAD. Harvesting in May and June, the Desert Durum® can help fill a quality or quantity gap in the market when adverse conditions develop in other production regions.”
Desert Durum® is a registered certification mark of the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council and the California Wheat Commission, which authorize its use only to designate durum grown under irrigation in the desert valleys and lowlands of Arizona and California.
Desert Durum® exhibits consistently large kernels and low moisture, traits that contribute to efficient transportation costs and high extraction rates. Like previous crops, the 2023 crop will deliver the valuable milling, semolina, and pasta quality traits that customers have learned to expect and appreciate. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will soon share a complete report on 2023 crop quality.
2023 Crop Highlights
- Desert Durum® production acreage in 2023 was lower than 2022. According to USDA, yields were 3.10 metric tons per acre, and quality was uniformly good.
- The overall grade sample average for the 2023 Desert Durum® harvest survey is U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD).
- Test weight indicates sound wheat and a uniform crop with an average of 63.0 lb/bu (82.0 kg/hl).
- The average vitreous kernel (HVAC) content is 98%, a high average typical of Desert Durum®.
- Average damaged kernels are 0.1% and total defects are 0.5%.
- Kernel moisture content is characteristically low at 7.3%.
- Wheat protein content average is 13.9% (12% mb).
- The semolina color B* value is 32.9, slightly higher compared to 2022.
- The wet gluten average is 33.4% and gluten index average is 62%.
- Spaghetti cooked firmness average is 7.4 g cm, higher than last year’s 6.8.
Desert Durum® can be produced and delivered “identity preserved” to domestic and export markets, which allows customers to purchase grain with quality traits specific to their processing needs. Annual requirements can be pre-contracted with grain merchandisers ahead of the fall-winter planting season for harvest in late May through early July. Varietal identity is maintained by experienced growers planting certified seed and merchandisers who store and ship according to customers’ preferred delivery schedules.
More U.S. HAD Coming
In the Northern Durum production region as of Sept. 22, about 60% of samples have been collected and tested. Protein content is holding steady at 13.7% (12% mb). The low moisture content (10.8%) and high falling Number (424 sec) reflect dry conditions across the growing region and the overall grade remains U.S. No. 1 Hard Amber Durum (HAD). USW will share more information after harvest ends.