Cash Market Moves

2023 US Soft Red Winter Crop Wheat Makes Grade

Mary Kennedy
By  Mary Kennedy , DTN Basis Analyst
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U.S. Wheat Associates noted in their 2023 quality report that, overall, buyers should be extremely happy with the quality of the entire 2023 SRW crop. Pictured is a soft red winter wheat field in Ohio. (Photo courtesy of USW)

On Oct. 13, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) published their soft red winter (SRW) wheat quality survey, noting the overall sample average of the crop was U.S. No. 1 SRW, 60.3 lb/bu (79.3 kg/hl), and a composite average protein of 9.3%.

Referred to sometimes as "cracker" wheat, SRW wheat is most suited for crackers, cookies, pastries, flat breads, and pretzels. And bourbon distillers, such as Buffalo Trace, Maker's Mark, and Heaven Hill's Old Fitzgerald, also use it in some of their bourbons. SRW wheat is also used to make pan bread, cereals and even pasta in a more coarsely ground form.

USW notes SRW wheat adds value to the miller and baker as a blending wheat. It is a low protein of 8.5% to 10.5% (12% moisture base), soft endosperm, red bran, high starch, and weak gluten wheat. "The 2023 crop is very sound with high test weight and falling number values, large kernel size, good milling characteristics, and is relatively free of DON. Processors will find a versatile crop with good qualities for cookies, cakes and crackers. With higher protein and good extensibility (ability to stretch), the crop should also be valuable in blending for baking applications."

SRW wheat is mainly grown in the Eastern and Great Plains regions and, like hard red winter wheat, it is planted in the fall. It is also the cheapest of all the wheats and therefore is a favorite for exporting when prices can compete globally. China has been our biggest buyer so far this crop year and, having been absent since last fall, USDA on Oct. 13 said private exporters sold 181,000 metric tons (mt) of soft red winter wheat to China, following a large sale of 220,000 metric tons to China the prior week.

SRW wheat is traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and, as stated above, is the cheapest of the other contracts traded, hard red spring wheat and hard red winter wheat. Producers, processors, millers and exporters continue to look to Chicago SRW wheat futures for the liquidity that is critical for any risk management solution, notes CME.

USW said, "SRW production for the 2023-24 marketing year is estimated at 440 million bushels (mb) -- 12.0 million metric tons (mmt) -- up from 337 mb (9.2 mmt) in 2022 and above the five-year average of 298 mb (8.1 mmt). That would be the largest SRW production in nine years and highest yield on record at 75 bushels per acre (5.0 tons/ha). The USDA forecast that SRW exports are expected to be 135 mb (3.7 mmt), the largest in nine years, and projections put ending stocks at a five-year high."

Link to USW 2023 SRW wheat quality report:…

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