Crop Quality Seminars presented by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) concluded this week with a universal response by customers in every corner of the world: They are impressed by the high quality of the 2022 crop across all six wheat classes but concerned about the sustained higher prices.
One other common opinion: Those attending in-person seminars were happy to meet USW staff and U.S. wheat producers face-to-face.
“It was great to have a number of U.S. producers sharing their stories and interacting with customers,” reported Tyllor Ledford, Assistant Director in USW’s Portland office, who was part of the U.S. wheat team that presented in South Asia. “There was some great dialogue between the farmers and customers about production practices and risk management topics. And obviously, there was a lot of interaction and feedback on this year’s wheat crop.”
A big part of USW’s effort to communicate supply, demand and crop quality information to wheat buying and milling groups, the annual seminars took place throughout November. Separate in-person or hybrid (in-person and virtual) seminars were conducted in South Asia, Central America, South America, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the European Union (EU). Virtual seminars were conducted in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan with support from videotaped crop quality presentations.
“We had a good turnout in the EU, with a lot of questions about this year’s crop and a lot of interest in future crops,” said USW Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley, who partnered with the USW EU Regional Office in Rotterdam and Erica Olson of the North Dakota Wheat Commission to lead seminars in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal. “Everyone was very pleased with the wheat crop and what we presented, but higher prices remain a concern.”
In the MENA region, seminars were held in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. USW Regional Technical Manager Peter Lloyd said the uncertainty of the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the future of the Black Sea Grain Initiative weighed heavily in the discussion.
“Overall, participants were impressed by the high quality of this year’s U.S. wheat harvest, but the strong U.S. dollar and high freight rates are not helping the prices affecting the region,” Lloyd said. “We will likely be helping our customers deal with a reduced availability of high-protein wheat in the next marketing year.”
In South America, seminars in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile also attracted buyers and millers eager to learn about the 2022 crop. There were curiosities about potential U.S. transportation problems and how it may affect U.S. wheat exports in the future.
“There were questions about ongoing drought and transportation issues, such as the Mississippi River barge situation and the potential railroad strike in the U.S.,” explained Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director in Southern America. “That, of course, is based on the concerns about pricing. As far as the crop quality, attendees were pleased with the U.S. crop this year, especially the baking quality of hard red winter wheat.”
The South Asia seminars conducted in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines featured USW staff and a seven-member USW board team that shared information about their farm operations.
“Millers meeting with U.S. wheat producers is vital to promoting our product,” said Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice Present for South Asia. “Discussions about challenges and opportunities on each side of the wheat industry provide great insight into the value of U.S. wheat, which is a primary goal of the seminars each year.”
The 2022 USW Crop Quality Report and by-class reports can be found here.