Wheat and More ... Or Less
With wheat prices already at or below $4, about the only good news in the wheat market are protein premiums. Those premiums can net you up to another 25 cents per bushel if your wheat protein content is l4.6%.
The bad news, though, is that a lot of flourmills aren’t even interested in your wheat if the protein is less than l2%.
Looking back to this point last year, the Kansas flourmills were also paying premiums for high protein wheat. The reason for the premiums a year ago was they were looking at the expected ’09 crop and were getting braced for expected low quality wheat. They were trying to load up on good quality wheat and high protein wheat to blend with the ’09 crop.
As it turned out, grain quality was low. One Wichita grain buyer recently termed the wheat produced in south central Kansas as “junk”.
The same buyer says there is again a pretty good chance for premiums for the 2010 crop because yield potential this year looks very good. And usually as yield goes up, protein content goes down.
This buyer also noted that they are bringing in high protein hard red spring wheat to their Topeka mills to blend with the locally grown hard red winter wheat. “At 13%, the protein coming out of the Dakotas is also low for them, but it’s still high for down here. All told, the HRS has held its value better than our HRW simply because of their better protein.”
Of course, to access the high protein wheat market, you’ve got to have the wheat binned separately. And remember, it makes no sense to sell 15 or 16% protein wheat because premiums often stop at 14.5%. If your wheat is running higher than 14.5%, you need to blend it with low protein wheat to bring the wheat protein content down.
Ehmke is a certified seed grower in Lane County, Kan.