The rains which have taken their toll on the quality of
wheat harvests in parts of Europe and Ukraine may have compromised the US spring
wheat crop too, with some concerns in Canada as well.
Early results from the US hard red spring wheat harvest
showed specifications in line with last year's average levels, with protein at
13.6% and test weight at 61.5 pounds per bushel (80.9 kilogrammes per
hectolitre), according to US Wheat Associates.
The Hagberg falling number was, as of a week ago, coming in
at more than 400 seconds, "indicating a sound crop at this time".
However, these readings - taken from only the first 8% of the
samples expected to be taken over the harvest - may not prove representative of
the final number, US Wheat Associates warned.
Indeed, "recent reports from production regions suggest hard
red spring wheat protein levels may now be lower than average," said the group,
which promotes US wheat exports.
"In some areas, there is concern about potential disease
pressure and falling number issues."
The comments follow rains which had, as of Sunday, slowed
the US spring wheat harvest to 38% completion from the typical 65% by then,
official data show.
The crop was rated 63% in "good" or "excellent" condition,
down 3 points week on week and 7 points year on year.
In Canada too, "cool, wet weather continues to delay harvest
operations for many producers", officials in Saskatchewan said in a report
overnight which estimated combining in the country's main grains province of at
7% complete, half the typical rate by now.
"Many crops have lodged and there are quality concerns with
some pulses and cereals," the officials added.
US Wheat Associates has already warned over the condition of
the US soft red winter wheat crop, urging buyers to "pay close attention"
to their quality requirements after tests showed a "variable" quality
The crop has the highest levels in at least nine years of
vomitoxin, a toxic fungal residue which can in high concentrations render grain
unfit even for livestock feed.
And quality concerns have been unusually high in some
European Union crops too, including in France, the top producing country, where
harvest time was beset by rains which, on ripe grain, encourage sprouting and
reduce milling specifications.
In Ukraine, ProAgro has estimated the domestic wheat crop at
35% of feed quality only, up from 25-30% last year.