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2021 Survey Shows High Quality Crops

By: Jim Peterson
Posted: Nov 16 2021

The growing regions for U.S. hard red spring and northern durum were significantly impacted by moderate to extreme drought conditions, resulting in sharply reduced yields and production. The smaller crops tout very good quality however, due in part to the lack of disease pressures and a mostly dry, rapid harvest season, based on the results of the annual harvest survey. 

The U.S. HRS crop averages a No. 1 Dark Northern Spring with exceptionally high protein levels, no DON issues and very sound kernels.  The average test weight is solid, although there are a few areas with lighter test weights and smaller kernels, due to the drought conditions.  Laboratory testing of the milled flour is revealing a crop with much stronger dough properties and higher absorption compare to last year, although loaf volumes are lower than 2020.   

The 2021 northern U.S. durum crop has an average grade of #1 Hard Amber Durum, and nearly 80% of the crop grades No. 2 or better.  Average vitreous kernels are above 5-year averages, and kernel quality also shows high protein, little to no damage and soundness.  Lab evaluation of the semolina and pasta indicates good color, improved mixing properties, and more firmness to the cooked spaghetti, compared to 2020.  

The survey data is based on HRS samples collected across North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho and Oregon, and durum samples collected across North Dakota and Montana.  State offices of the National Agricultural Statistics Service collected the samples direct from producers and elevators during harvest, and the wheat quality labs at North Dakota State University analyzed the samples for kernel, milling, baking and pasta parameters.  Results are used with both domestic and international customers in optimizing market opportunities, and helping customers adjust to shifts in quality from crop year to crop year.

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