Recent news and highlights from around the U.S. wheat industry.
Speaking of Wheat
“As far as wheat goes, Russian prices are at a very serious discount. I was personally hoping that the story about Russia’s wheat shipments now being identified as Ukrainian wheat would have caused a strengthening of ally and non-ally sentiments to avoid Russian wheat. I guess getting food bought is more important than politics. However, the decline in wheat has been so dramatic that it has found economic value domestically. We have heard of feedlots out west purchasing #2 hard red wheat for feed. That tells you that the wheat market relative to corn and other feed grains has found value.” – Bill Biedermann, Hedging strategist, AgMarket.Net, writing in Farm Futures.
2022 U.S. Holiday Office Schedule
Crossbreeding for Drought Tolerance
Crop Trust’s “wild relatives project” has developed a new drought-tolerant variety of durum wheat. The new wheat named “Jabal,” which means “mountain” in Arabic, was developed by farmers and crop scientists by crossing a commercial durum wheat with a wild relative from an arid region of Syria. The wild relatives project uses genetically diverse crop varieties to help develop more resilient and adaptive varieties of wheat, barley, rice, and potato that can withstand erratic and extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Read more in The Guardian.
Satellite Imaging Quantifies Ukraine’s Wheat Harvest
U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth-observing satellites are deciphering some of the broad impacts of human conflict on the built and natural environment. On Dec. 2, NASA reported that satellite-based production numbers for the 2022 winter wheat crop in Ukraine suggest farmers had a largely successful harvest. The NASA Harvest team calculated a 26.6 million metric ton (MMT) wheat harvest in 2022, much higher than expected in leading forecasts. However, analysis showed that 5.8 MMT of wheat was harvested from areas that were not under Ukrainian control, likely benefiting Russian grain interests. Read more about the technology and outcome here.
Understanding USDA’s Export Sale Reporting Program
“Timely reporting and publishing of agricultural export sales data is key to effectively functioning markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is required by law to publicly release summary sales data obtained from U.S. exporters of many agricultural commodities” including U.S. wheat. Each week, U.S. exporters are required to report to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) any sales transaction entered into with a buyer outside the United States. FAS publishes a weekly summary of export sales activity every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET, unless a change is announced, and provides the data USW uses to publish its Commercial Sales Report. Read more about the program here.
Wheat Foods Council “Kernels” Magazine
“What do wheat farmers do after the harvest?” That’s a question answered by several friends of USW in the Winter 2022 issue of Kernels, published by the Wheat Foods Council. Three past and current USW farmer directors from Minnesota, Kansas and North Dakota talk about the work that goes on to maintain equipment, market wheat and plan the next season’s crops while finding a bit more time to spend with family and friends. The Wheat Foods Council, like USW, is directed by farmers and funded by state wheat commission member organizations. It is an industry-wide partnership dedicated to increasing domestic wheat foods consumption through nutrition information, research, education and promotional programs.
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