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Contract Specifications

Hard Red Spring Wheat
Buyers of spring wheat have a large array of quality options from which to select via their contract specifications. To acquire the quality desired, it is important to understand the options available. These options include:

As outlined elsewhere in this website, U.S. grades 1-5 and Sample Grade reflect the overall soundness of the wheat.

In this case, the class of wheat is hard red spring, with subclasses controlling for dark, hard and vitreous kernel content. Subclass options include Dark Northern Spring (DNS), Northern Spring (NS), and Spring (S).

Protein Level
Examples of minimum protein options adjusted to a constant 12 percent moisture basis include: 13.0% 13.5% 14.0% 14.5% 15.0%

Moisture Content-Maximum moisture content options include: 13.5% 13.0% 12.5% 12.0% 11.5% 11%

Soundness-Limits may be placed on specific types of damage such as sprout, frost or insects. Maximum sprouted kernel options include: 0.5% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1% 0.0%

Falling number (FN) analysis includes many options such as:
  • FN minimum 300 cargo composite
  • FN 300 sublot average
  • FN no sublot under 300

Many options are available for controlling the amount of dockage, foreign material, and shrunken and broken kernels including:

  • Absolute maximum content limit.
  • Deductibility of dockage content from contract weight.
  • Cash discounts based on dockage content.
  • Reimbursement of freight and/or insurance on content.

Contract Specification Basics
In the very competitive U.S. wheat export market, contract terms are critically important in assuring quality. By observing three simple principles buyers can be assured of quality wheat at the most competitive price:

  • Don't ask for the impossible. While some demands may be technically possible, the cost may be prohibitive. Buyers must consider the cost of the specification versus the economic value that quality will return. U.S. Wheat Associates and grain trade representatives are available to help analyze these options.
  • Changes in contract specifications should be known well in advance. This helps reduce "price shock" offers, allows ample time to refine the contract terms and allows time for the export trade to assess its risks fairly and thus offer the best price.
  • When possible, allow for flexibility in contract specifications. That way the buyer will get essentially the same quality but often at a significantly lower price by reducing risk to the exporter.

Buyers can always require more restrictive limits than those stated in USDA grades. Here are samples of contract specifications using options described in the contract specification section.

Rigorous Specifications
  • U.S. grade No. 1 Dark Northern Spring
  • Protein, minimum 15%, no sublot below 14.9%
  • Dockage, maximum 0.5%, no sublot to exceed 0.5%, all dockage deductible from the contracted weight
  • Moisture, maximum 12%
  • Maximum sprouted kernels 0.1%
  • Falling number, minimum 350 sublot average

Relaxed Specifications
  • U.S. grade No. 2 or better
  • Northern Spring or Dark Northern Spring
  • Protein, minimum 13.0% average
  • Dockage, content above 1.0% deducted from contract weight
  • Moisture, maximum 13.5%
  • Maximum sprouted kernels 4%