Weekly Market Highlights
- Prices for spring wheat futures are higher since our last communication a little more than two weeks ago. Spring wheat basis premium prices are also higher for most grades.
- Demand for hard red spring wheat is strong this crop year due to the low protein levels in the U.S. hard red winter wheat crop that encourages blending to obtain needed protein. It is projected that hard red spring is the only major wheat class that will not grow in carryover at the end of 2017.
- Hard red winter wheat futures are higher, but only by about eight cents per bushel on the market switch to trading March futures. Hard red winter basis premiums have fallen from extreme levels for most grades.
- Drought conditions are developing in western Kansas. While this situation is being closely monitored and is increasingly concerning, it so far has not had much of an effect on wheat futures.
- Although winter is late in arriving this year, mills are working to keep ahead of any delays of supply that may come eventually; therefore, demand is strong for what wheat becomes available. We expect some fluctuation, but prices should remain limited by plentiful wheat stocks here in the U.S. and worldwide.
Facts on Flour
Gluten is developed from flour protein. When combined with water under mixing stress, the proteins in the flour will form gluten, which provides extensibility, elasticity and gas-retaining properties to yeast-leavened baked goods. The quantity of gluten is proportionate to the amount of protein in the flour, so gluten increases as the protein content increases.
Wheat flour is unique because it is the only cereal grain that possesses gluten-forming proteins – gliadin and glutenin. These comprise roughly 80 percent of the total wheat protein. The remaining proteins in flour are non-gluten forming and contribute nothing to dough strength.
The major flour types and their relative protein levels are:
To buy flour purely by a protein specification will not necessarily guarantee baking performance. Protein quality is a key component and will be discussed next week.