Average protein levels expected for wheat

(Resource News International) — Supplies of high-protein wheat are likely to be tighter for 2008-09 than in 2007-08, with protein levels in both Canada and the U.S. expected to be nearer to average and below last year’s levels.

“I would say protein levels (for Canadian wheat) will probably be closer to average than they have been over the past couple of years mainly because we haven’t had the hot, dry conditions that we had in those years,” said Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board.

It is still too early to say anything conclusively about protein levels, he added. The main part of the western Canadian spring wheat crop will only be harvested sometime this week or next week.

An average protein level, depending on the series of years used, is generally around 13.5 or 13.6 per cent, Burnett said.

As far as price premiums for high-protein wheat go, Burnett said he believes they will be better than they have been in recent years because a more normal protein distribution is anticipated.

Again, however, price premiums depend on what supply of high protein wheat is like and that still depends on whether or not the weather cooperates while western Canadian farmers work to get their crops off the fields.

“If we get through our harvest without any weathering and the U.S. gets through their harvest without any weathering, while there will be premiums for higher proteins, they just won’t take off astronomically,” Burnett said.

The expectation in the U.S. is that wheat protein levels there will also be lower than has been the case in the past couple of years, he continued.

“We won’t get exact numbers on that for another two to three weeks but it looks like protein levels are below the past couple of years and they might even be slightly below average,” Burnett said.

There are reports that the European wheat harvest is coming in low in protein as well.

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