MINOT, N.D. — Farmers produced a hard red spring wheat crop during the dry 2023 growing season that was better than expected, said Jim Peterson, North Dakota Wheat Commission policy and marketing director.
Total production was higher than in 2022, and the 2023 wheat crop graded higher, overall, than last year’s crop, Peterson said at the Crop Outlook and International Durum Forum held in Minot on Nov. 1-2, 2023.
A combination of higher yields in some spring wheat states and an increase in total U.S. wheat acreage combined to produce a crop of 504.9 million bushels in 2023, which was about 4.5% higher than 2022.
In North Dakota, spring wheat average yields were 48.5 bushels per acre and total production was 267.7 million bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Yields averaged 43 bushels per acre in South Dakota where farmers produced 28 million bushels of spring wheat. Montana average yields were 30 bushels per acre and total production was 80.1 million bushels. Average yields in Minnesota were 62 bushels per acre and production totaled 78.1 million bushels.
During the U.S. Hard Red Spring Wheat Quality Survey, 755 samples were collected in seven states by farmers and elevators during harvest. North Dakota State University Extension agriculture agents and NASS employees also collected samples.
The samples showed that though the spring wheat crop was better in quality, overall, than the 2022 crop, there are some issues with vitreous kernels — or those that are glassy or translucent. Peterson said. However, sample testing showed that the vitreous kernels don’t appear to be affecting pasta quality.
“Even though the face of the crop may not look as good with the loss of color, it’s performing well,” he said.
Lower protein content also is an issue with some of the 2023 spring wheat crop. Average protein was 14.1%, compared with 14.2% last year and the 5-year average of 14.6%.
“There are some pretty hefty protein discounts in parts of the region,” he said. Typically, the eastern spring wheat growing region has lower protein, and the western region has higher protein, but that was reversed this year.
“This year, it’s the eastern part of the state that has the higher protein,” Peterson said.
Farmers who have higher protein wheat should see premiums for their crop, he said.
While 2023 U.S. hard red spring wheat production was higher than last year, durum production was lower this year than it was last year. Production in 2023 is estimated at 59 million bushels, 5 million bushels lower than 2022, NASS said.
During the Northern Durum Quality Survey, 225 samples were collected from six growing regions by farmers and elevators during harvest, along with NDSU Extension agriculture agents and NASS employees.
The survey showed that the quality of the durum crop, like the spring wheat crop, overall was good, but there was variability in some areas because of rain and a long harvest period.
The crop generally was high protein, similar color to the 2022 crop and a higher cooked weight with slightly less cooked firmness, Peterson said. Like the spring wheat crop it had vitreous kernels.
Larger exports but slightly lower domestic mill grind is projected for the U.S. spring wheat crop, Peterson said. There is a shortage of higher protein, higher quality wheat on the world market and both hard red spring wheat and durum exports are stronger to date, he said.
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: email@example.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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