Weekly Market Highlights
- Hard red winter wheat futures are higher this week, trading up $.20 cents per bushel in the past five sessions. Winter wheat basis levels remain fairly firm and historically are extremely high.
- Futures are thought to be finding some of their support from reports of drought conditions in Kansas and concerns that the emerged crop is stressed by very low temperatures and a lack of snow cover.
- U.S. winter wheat plantings are expected to have dropped. Large U.S. stocks offset these concerns, but keep in mind not all of the stocks are milling quality wheat. The markets will continue to monitor these concerns which will no doubt influence the direction winter wheat futures take in the New Year.
- Spring wheat futures and basis are also firm to higher. Extreme cold in the Midwest is slowing rail and bulk truck transport, a supportive factor we see seasonally each year.
- U.S. and world wheat supplies remain plentiful which should limit the market’s potential to rally, but we do expect prices could continue to find support at these levels.
Facts on Flour
Measuring Protein Quality
Protein quality can be measured indirectly with dough-testing devices such as the farinograph. The farinograph curve provides useful information regarding the strength, mixing tolerance and absorption characteristics of flour. This instrument measures the resistance of flour and water dough to mechanical mixing. The resistance is recorded as a graph. The shape of the curve indicates the strength of the flour.
From the graph, a technician can determine a few key measurements: Arrival Time is the time it takes the curve to reach a standard resistance line. This value represents the rate of hydration of the flour. Peak Time is the time required for the dough to reach full development. The measurement can be a predictor of optimum mixing time. Stability Time is the amount of time the curve stays above the standard resistance line.
This value will relate to the tolerance of the flour to mixing. Absorption is the amount of water required to create dough that will center itself on the standard resistance line. The value is not necessarily the true formulation absorption for the baker. Mixing Tolerance Index is the distance the curve drops five minutes after it has reached the full development peak. This value will relate to the rate at which the flour breaks down under mixing stress.