In its September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, USDA predicted world wheat production for marketing year 2015/16 would reach 732 million metric tons (MMT).
As they wrap up their harvests, farmers across the northern hemisphere will likely put about 681 MMT of that total into the bins. Southern hemisphere farmers will produce only about seven percent of world wheat production, with much of that grown in Australia and Argentina, which, on average, export 75 percent and 50 percent of their total production, respectively.
Consequently, while the southern hemisphere harvest plays an important role in export markets, the quantity and quality of northern hemisphere wheat looms quite large for the world’s millers and wheat food processors.
This year, U.S. farmers will produce an anticipated 58.1 MMT of wheat after slightly higher yields and a five percent increase in harvested acres offset a one percent decline in planted acres. In particular, U.S. hard red spring (HRS) production, which accounts for 27 percent of total U.S. wheat production, will reach an estimated 15.7 MMT, the largest crop since 1996/97. In addition, favorable weather, efficient agronomics and the use of high potential, certified seed combined to produce a big crop with excellent quality for end use customers.
As of Sept. 18, with only three percent of the HRS crop still to be harvested, USW reported average protein at 14.2 percent (12 percent moisture), up from 2014’s final of 13.6 percent, and average test weight at 61.4 lb/bu (80.7 kg/hl) up from 60.8 lb/bu (80.0 kg/hl) last year.
The preliminary data also shows the average grade is No. 1 dark northern spring (DNS) with an average vitreous kernel content (DHV) of 77 percent compared to an average of 60 percent in 2014.
Here is more good HRS news for buyers: at FOB $234 per MT as of last week, DNS 13.5 percent protein, December delivery PNW is $116 per MT less than it was last year on about the same date. While acknowledging that the strong U.S. dollar has diminished the impact of lower prices, this is still a very good price for very good HRS wheat.
As they do every year, buyers and end-users have the opportunity to follow the U.S. wheat harvest and quality because USW works closely with state wheat commission members and several partners to analyze representative samples and report progress each Friday.
USW and its partners will complete flour and dough analysis and provide complete summaries of quality data for HRS, as well as for five other U.S. wheat classes, in its annual Crop Quality report. USW has already posted a preliminary soft red winter (SRW) report on its website. USW will continue its tradition of sharing the data publicly and with its customers around the world through Crop Quality Seminars or personal visits.
Sharing such information with complete transparency is critical for end-use customers and USW’s record of reporting it is decades old. U.S. wheat is, in part, the world’s most reliable supply because it always comes with the information customers need to get the best value possible.