Even in the face of dry conditions across much of the central and southern production area, U.S. farmers produced one of the highest quality hard red winter (HRW) wheat crops in several years for 2022/23.
The new HRW crop has consistent kernel characteristics and protein across the export tributaries in the Gulf and Pacific. Flour quality attributes exceed last year and many of the 5-year averages, results that indicate this crop will make high quality end products. The 2022 crop meets or exceeds typical HRW contract specifications and should provide high value to the customer.
Plains Grains, Inc., and the USDA/ARS Hard Winter Wheat Quality Lab, Manhattan, Kan., collected and analyzed 524 samples from elevators in 11 states and the California Wheat Commission collected and analyzed 93 HRW samples in its state. The results are weighted by the estimated production for each of 40 reporting area and combined into Composite Average, PNW, Gulf and California values. This report shares Composite averages, but U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will post the full Hard Red Winter Wheat 2022 Quality Survey, including data for each export tributary, on its website in late October.
USW encourages buyers to review their quality specifications to ensure purchases meet their expectations.
The Season in Review
Planted area for the 2022 HRW crop is estimated 23.5 million acres (9.5 million hectares) seeded in fall 2021, similar to planted area the previous year.
Growing conditions varied across the hard red winter production regions. Southern and Central Plains experienced historic drought resulting in lower yields, smaller kernels and higher than average protein. The Northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, while dry, experienced more favorable growing conditions resulting in high yields, good kernel characteristics and desirable protein.
Estimated 2022 U.S. HRW production is 14.4 million metric tons (MMT), down 29% from 20.4 MMT in 2021 due to the widespread drought. That total is the lowest for many years. Carry-in U.S. HRW stocks are estimated at 9.6 MMT.
2022 Hard Red Winter Crop Highlights – Composite Averages
- The Composite average grade for the 2022 HRW harvest survey is U.S. No. 1 HRW.
- Test weight Composite average is 61.0 lb/bu (80.2 kg/hl), indicative of sound wheat.
- Protein content Composite average is 13.0% (12% mb), well above the 5-year average.
- Wet gluten average of 32.3% is well above last year and the 5-year average, reflective of excellent gluten strength.
- Wheat falling number Composite average is 361 sec.
- Kernels are larger and slightly harder than last year.
- Flour ash average of 0.52% (14% mb) is comparable to last year and 5-year averages.
- Dough properties suggest that this crop has excellent water absorption, higher than last year and the 5-year average with good stability slightly below last year but in-line with the 5-year average.
- Composite average bake absorption is 65.3%, higher than last year and above the 5-year average.
- Average loaf volume of 939 cc is well above last year and 5-year averages, indicative of excellent baking quality.