Despite weather challenges, USW report details how U.S. HRW crop quality meets customer needs

Posted October 28, 2021

Quality testing results are in for this year’s U.S. hard red winter (HRW) crop. Global customers will once again be able to purchase good quality wheat that provides high value, according to a recently released report by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).

“HRW sets the standard that international buyers gauge for quality around the world,” said Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin. “While the environmental impact each year results in a different crop, the USW report outlines how HRW continues to provide high value to world buyers despite the slight difference in strengths and weaknesses of each year’s harvest.”

The 2021 Crop Quality Report is the latest in a series of reports by USW, the wheat industry’s export market development organization. Each year, the organization gathers thousands of samples throughout the harvest season and at export locations to analyze for wheat, flour and end-product qualities. These results are compiled into an overall report for all six wheat classes and broken down into individualized reports by wheat class.

Wheat producers in Kansas and throughout the HRW growing region faced variable growing conditions that influenced the wheat crop, including regional swings in temperature and drought that led to mixed protein, lower yields and smaller kernels. Despite these challenges, USW reported the HRW crop “has generally good kernel characteristics with flour, dough and bake attributes equal to or better than last year and many five-year averages.” Additionally, the crop quality report stated, “The loaf volumes achieved indicate there is sufficient protein quality to make pan bread that easily exceeds the U.S. quality target for loaf volume, with dough mix times and stabilities that are slightly greater than the five-year averages.”

“This year has once again provided its share of uncertainty for wheat producers, handlers and buyers. We have seen challenges from drought, variable trade policies and the ongoing global pandemic,” wrote USW President Vince Peterson in the opening of the report. “Through it all, the entire U.S. wheat industry remained fixed on providing the highest quality wheat for almost every customer need, backed by transparent pricing, trusted third-party certification and unmatched service before and after the sale.”

USW will now take this information to overseas customers through an annual series of crop quality seminars, led by USW staff, growers, 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.

Kansas Wheat regularly participates in these programs to provide personalized information to each market and receive feedback directly from customers. This informational exchange is important as about half of the Kansas wheat crop is exported each year into a competitive world market, and these programs keep current and future customers informed on crop condition, quality and trade flows.

“Customers with more information are better customers,” Gilpin said. “Sharing the quality attributes with customers helps to build trust in the quality, reliability and value of the Kansas HRW harvest.”

Read the full HRW crop quality report at


Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat