The variety Joe, which was developed by the K-State breeding program, has good milling quality and also carries a gene for resistance to Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus.
(Photo Courtesy of Kansas Wheat)
Kansas wheat farmers have a unique opportunity to export wheat into African and Asian markets. Unfortunately for Australian wheat farmers, their crop has been plagued by drought and freeze. They won’t be able to meet the export demand for the white wheat they grow. This gives Kansas wheat farmers the chance to meet this international demand. Planting decisions made now will affect the supply that is available over the next year, while Australia’s exports lag.
Jay Armstrong, a Kansas wheat farmer who serves on the Kansas Wheat Commission and recently returned from a trade mission to Nigeria and South Africa, says wheat buyers in Sub-Saharan Africa are looking to the U.S. to help fill this void. The 2018 Sub-Saharan Africa Board Team trip was sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. wheat industry’s export market development organization.
Australia is the only competitor to the U.S. in the hard white wheat market. Australia recently lowered its production forecast by nearly 13 percent, cutting its exports to a 10-year low.
Countries such as Taiwan, Korea and Nigeria, who look to Australia to purchase the white wheat they need for their products, are looking to the U.S. to source hard white wheat in the wake of this forecast.
“Because Australia is not going to be able to meet demand for white wheat, buyers are coming to the U.S. for hard white wheat,” said Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. “We are, right now, in the beginning of a long window, where we can fill this demand by planting hard white wheat now for harvest next summer.”
Gilpin says this window continues through this marketing year and into next marketing year. Because of Australian production shortfalls, prices on Australian wheat are high.
“Farmers need to be considering hard white wheat as they are making planting decisions,” said Gilpin. “This demand will continue through next year’s harvest.”
For farmers who are looking to plant hard white wheat this fall, there are a number of excellent varieties available. The variety Joe, which was developed by the K-State breeding program, has good milling quality and also carries a gene for resistance to Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus, which has caused wide-spread damage in western Kansas, where hard white wheat is best adapted.
The caution with planting hard white wheat remains what it has been for years – know where you will be delivering your wheat prior to planting. However, with hard white wheat acres increasing in recent years, more elevator locations are handling it at harvest time and beyond.
Eric Sperber, CEO of Cornerstone Ag in Colby, Kan., says they have sent many samples of hard white wheat to Nigeria for them to do bake tests and overall quality tests. The feedback has been positive.
“Because Australia is having problems, we are getting some of this business,” he said.
High Plains Platinum hard white wheat is being loaded in western Kansas to meet this demand. The High Plains Platinum brand represents a high set of quality standards for hard white winter wheat.
With the feedback he received from his trip, Armstrong predicts, “We will have a higher demand than what we can grow.”