News and information from around the wheat industry.
Speaking of Wheat
“Farmers have a unique perspective of longevity and sustainability because our livelihoods depend on it. And it breeds a level of commitment to these practices over the generations. Wheat is an integral part of our system and has been for generations, but it’s important to see it in a context of the whole system that is anchored in this crop that just naturally fits.” – Park River, North Dakota, farmer Aaron Kjelland, in Episode 1 of the new “Stories of Stewardship” video series.
Thank You and Best Wishes to Ann Murchison!
Our colleague Ann Murchison (shown in the photo at the top of this page) has retired from her position as Office Manager, West Coast Office in Portland, Ore., after almost 29 years with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). Over those years, Ann has welcomed hundreds if not thousands of overseas customers and other office visitors, shipped tons of wheat samples around the world, and cheerfully taken care of the people and busy office in the Albers Mill Building on the Willamette River. We all wish Ann a long and healthy retirement and sincerely thank her for such dedicated service!
Congratulations to Cathy Marais
USW is happy to recognize the service of Cape Town Regional Finance and Administration Manager Cathy Marais who marks 30 years of service on Jan. 17, 2024. Dankie, Cathy, for your hard work and dedication from all your colleagues!
K-State Seeks Nominations for New Grain Science Department Leader
The College of Agriculture at Kansas State University (KSU) is now accepting nominations and applications for the Head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry. This is a critical position for the milling industry. Click here for more information. Screening of applications will continue until the position is filled.
Wheat Breeding Innovation News
Researchers at the United Kingdom’s John Innes Centre have announced use of gene-editing techniques to help identify a temperature tolerance factor that may protect wheat from the increasingly unpredictable challenges of climate change. A team headed by Prof. Graham Moore made the discovery during experiments looking at wheat fertility in plants exposed to either high or low temperatures. Read more about this wheat breeding innovation here. In other news, U.S. based company Cibus, Inc., said it has successfully regenerated wheat plants from single cells in a wheat cultivar, a breakthrough the agricultural technology company said may be used to develop traits like disease resistance and nitrogen use efficiency that support increased yields. Read more about this innovation here.
Durum Prices are More Competitive
“World Grain” recently reported that pasta manufacturers looking for 2024 semolina coverage will find durum values lower than a year ago and down sharply from mid-December 2021. And yet U.S. Northern Plains durum growers deciding when to sell stored supplied will encounter bids hovering about a $1 a bushel higher than the five-year average for the date. Four months before the typical seeding time for the U.S. northern durum crop, soil moisture conditions were in much better shape than a year earlier. Read more here.
El Niño Winter Outlook
“Farm Progress” publications in the United States recently looked at the potential impact of the El Niño weather patterns on global wheat production. A wetter summer and fall in 2023 helped reduce the amount of wheat produced in areas experiencing drought conditions. The article notes that early in 2024, top hard red winter wheat-growing regions in the Southern Plains enjoyed higher rainfall volumes than at the same point over the past two years. Ratings improved for winter wheat crops in top producer Kansas, as well as Texas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. But dry soil continues to plague the entire Heartland. Through early February, 32% of U.S. winter wheat acres were rated in drought condition (below). And perhaps more notably, 25% of spring wheat acres were located within a drought area at that time (see additional maps here). Read more here.