With improved price trends, available capacity, and a potential uptick in U.S. ending stocks and 2024 production estimates to come, unique opportunities may arise to capitalize on the value of U.S. wheat. Though market conditions can be challenging to accurately predict, a constant is that the U.S. wheat farmer remains committed to growing high quality wheat on which customers around the world know they can rely.
The United States (U.S) is home to vast and diverse wheat-growing regions. From semi-arid deserts to immense prairies and fertile plains, the varied climate supports the production of six unique wheat classes: Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Soft Red Winter (SRW), Soft White (SW), Durum, and Hard White (HW). Complementing the large growing regions, the U.S. maintains a sophisticated and dependable supply chain that can transport wheat from interior growing areas to the three primary export points in the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, and the Pacific Northwest to supply the needs of importers worldwide.
Over the last three years, U.S. wheat prices have been elevated, suffering from the impacts of drought throughout several wheat-growing regions, a tightening U.S. wheat balance sheet, and volatile disruptions in the world wheat market. As the U.S. Marketing Year (MY) 2023/24 moves into its second half, now is the time to take stock of the year so far and use available information to plan for Q4 of MY 2023/24 and the 2024 harvest.
Six classes of U.S. wheat are grown across the country in a range of conditions. Source, U.S. Wheat Associates.
To fully understand the 2023/24 U.S. wheat supply and demand situation, we must go back to the autumn of 2022 when the 2023 winter wheat crop was planted. Elevated wheat prices at that time incentivized farmers to plant additional wheat acres. As a result, total U.S. wheat acres increased by 9% to 20.07 million hectares (49.6 million acres), the first increase since 2018 and the largest planted area since 20