Hard Red Spring and Durum crops showing improved end-use quality

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Quality analysis of the 2011 U.S. hard red spring wheat and northern grown durum crops has been completed, and despite a challenging year for yields and some kernel factors, end-use performance of both crops is improved over 2010. The analysis is based on a survey of producer samples collected during harvest across North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington and Oregon for spring wheat, and North Dakota and Montana for durum.

The 2011 U.S. hard red spring wheat crop is one-third smaller than 2010 as excessive spring moisture led to a sharp reduction in planted area and lower yields in the four-state region which was only partially offset by record yields in the Pacific Northwest. The crop grades a No. 1 Dark Northern Spring and has abundant protein, averaging 14.6 percent. The crop is lower than average in moisture with sound falling number values, but does have a smaller than average kernel size and higher damage levels and DON compared to recent years. Dough mixing strength is slightly stronger and loaf volumes much improved over 2010 with good to excellent bake quality. According to Jim Peterson, Marketing Director, “International and domestic demand has softened compared to the 2010 season with stronger U.S. prices, but buyers should be pleased with the high protein and above average grades in 2011, which is resulting in a slight improvement in dough performance and bigger gains in bake qualities. Hopefully this will help us recover some demand as the year progresses.”

Northern U.S. durum production was significantly reduced as well, falling two-thirds below 2010, also due to excessive spring rain and flooding which prevented significant acres from being planted. The crop averages a No. 2 Hard Amber Durum due to lower test weight values but vitreous kernel counts are notably higher than 2010, along with falling number values. However, there are areas of higher damage and DON levels due to elevated disease pressures.  Marketing Specialist, Erica Olson, said “the better kernel color and soundness in the 2011 crop is leading to semolina with lower speck counts, and higher pasta color scores and improved cooked firmness in the finished product.  While prices for U.S. durum are sharply higher than 2010, due to the constrained supply levels, buyers should also find higher quality value in the 2011 crop.”

The quality analysis of the survey samples was performed at the NDSU wheat quality labs, and the reports generated from the data are now available to U.S. and international customers, and will serve as the main marketing tool used for promotion of the 2011 crop.    Buyers are eager for quality information and various international customers have already visited the state to receive the information first hand.  NDWC Marketing Director Jim Peterson will travel to Asia in November to present the quality information to hundreds of U.S. spring wheat buyers.  “I think our customers will be pleased to see that despite the challenges producers faced in 2011, the biggest impact was on yields, and although the smaller level of available supplies will be of some concern, the crop is somewhat better than last year for parameters they value.”  The quality information will also be presented to buyers in U.S. Wheat Associates sponsored crop quality seminars in Europe, North Africa and Central America.

The reports are available on the NDWC website – www.ndwheat.com.  Hard copies of the reports can also be requested by calling 701-328-5111 or emailing ndwheat@ndwheat.com.

Source: North Dakota Wheat Commission

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