|By Hannah Schlapp, Kansas Wheat Communications Intern
For audio file, please visit kansaswheat.org.
Wheat buyers, millers and processors in South Asia have a better understanding of the quality of this year’s hard red winter wheat crop, thanks to U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) annual Crop Quality Seminars.
Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin presented U.S. hard red winter wheat quality information at the seminars that were held from November 9-22, in Manila, Philippines; Cebu, Philippines; Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
“Each of the customers are users of hard red winter wheat, and they each have different priorities. By covering all of the characteristics of hard red winter wheat I was trying to touch on the needs of all the customers,” Gilpin said.
Each year, after thousands of wheat crop samples are analyzed and the results are published in the USW Crop Quality Report, U.S. Wheat Associates invites its overseas customers to seminars led by USW staff, growers, state wheat commission staff and partner organizations.
These seminars dive into grade factors, protein levels, flour extraction rates, dough stability, baking loaf volume, noodle color and texture and more for all six U.S. wheat classes, and are tailored to focus on the needs and trends in each regional market. In 2016, USW hosted 40 seminars in 23 countries.
During the seminars, Gilpin noted that HRW had record yields across the board this year. The results of such high yields had a lot to do with ideal weather conditions. During the growing season, the crop had plentiful rainfall and temperatures which helped for an ideal filling period. With the temperatures being as mild as they were, the crop was not as affected by heat, drought, or disease stress, all of which play a major role in the quality of the wheat crop. Improved genetics also played a major role in higher yield results. Gilpin talked about the lower protein that HRW wheat has this year, but that it is a good overall quality crop.
One of the best advantages about HRW wheat is its constant demand. “Hard red winter wheat is viewed as a traditional wheat around the world. Hard red winter wheat sets the standards that buyers gauge for quality in competitors like Australia and other countries. It’s important because bread and noodle products are in high demand, and it’s a growing demand,” Gilpin said. He emphasized the blending opportunities that HRW wheat offers.
Gilpin said that having record high yields, along with lower protein and a lack of storage areas, are large factors for driving prices downward. Within the last year, Kansas and the rest of the U.S have seen a downfall in income, followed by a decrease in wheat acres planted. Major drought conditions are affecting mainly the western part of the state, but that just goes to show that no two years are the same.
“The environmental impact each year is always somewhat different on each crop. This dictates how each crop, year after year, will have different qualities. It will have different strengths, and it will have different weaknesses. This makes it important to do seminars annually to talk about quality attributes to our customers in a competitive environment, because a customer with more information ultimately will be a better customer,” Gilpin said.