Kansas wheat exhibits good milling and baking quality

The Kansas hard white wheat crop is exhibiting good milling and baking quality, even though production was down in 2020, according to the annual Crop Quality Report published by U.S. Wheat Associates.

The report includes grade, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes. The report includes analysis of hundreds of samples collected during and after harvest to provide objective information for the world’s wheat buyers.

According to the report, the 2020 HW wheat crop demonstrated good quality in milling performance, dough properties and in finished products like pan breads, Asian noodles and steamed breads. USW and member organizations like the Kansas Wheat Commission are now taking this analysis out to customers to discuss both last year’s quality and the outlook for the HW wheat just planted.

Matt Overturf, director of grain marketing for Skyland Grain, LLC, with its corporate location in Johnson, Kansas, echoed the good quality of this year’s HW wheat crop, despite a significant drop in production. The company only took in about 40% of their five-year average, with an even more substantial drop year-over-year. This decreased production was driven by crop rotations into other dryland crops and substantial drought conditions in the western parts of the state where the majority of HW is grown.

Despite lower acres, Overturf reported the HW wheat delivered to their locations had good protein and test weights. He also said the company’s location in Cunningham (Kingman County) took in HW wheat for the first time and it was also of good quality. While the majority of this wheat is destined for domestic use, Skyland has made some sales to Nigeria prior to the start of the competing Australian harvest.

Looking forward, Overturf expects HW production in western Kansas to rebound substantially, in part due to prevent plant acres from this summer that shifted back to wheat production. Farmers in western Kansas also benefit from varieties like Joe that include resistance to diseases like Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus, and KS Silverado, which is growing in popularity in central Kansas. He reported the HW wheat now in the ground is off to a good start, but farmers are keeping their fingers crossed for moisture soon to support plant growth.

“If we can catch moisture, we have a really good stand here,” Overturf said. “Our farmers like to grow HW wheat out here and we like handling it. When somebody is looking for HW to buy, they can come to us and we usually have a pretty good supply.”