Midway through the 2006-2007 marketing year, most quality measures for Montana's spring wheat and durum crops exceed the 15-year averages, according to test results from the Montana State Grain Laboratory.
Protein levels for the 2006 spring wheat crop are averaging 15.2%, compared to the historic average of 14.2% for 1991 to 2005, says Craig Essebaggers, State Grain Laboratory Bureau chief for the Montana Department of Agriculture. Dark Hard and Vitreous Kernels, another measure of quality, average 90.3% compared to the 15-year average of 77.4%. Dockage is 0.9%, compared to the historic average of 1.0%.
Test weights, averaging 58.7 pounds per bushel, are below the historic average of 60.1%. The 2006 protein levels and test weights are typical of a crop in which yields were reduced due to moisture stress, Essebaggers says.
The reverse was true for fall-planted winter wheat, which had good early season moisture that produced a crop with above-average test weights and below-average protein. Test weights for winter wheat are averaging 63 pounds per bushel, compared to the historic average of 61.2 pounds. Protein is averaging 12.3%, compared to the historic average of 13%.
Durum wheat, on average, has followed the pattern of spring-planted wheat. Test weights for the 2006 durum crop are averaging 59.9 pounds per bushel, compared to the 15-year average of 61 pounds. Durum protein has averaged 14.6%, compared to the historic average of 13.6%. Hard and Vitreous Kernels of Amber Color has averaged 90.8 percent, compared to the historic average of 85.4%.
The latest crop estimates from the Montana Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service showed a 2006 spring wheat harvest of 63.8 million bushels, down 22% from 2005 due to lower yields. Growers planted fewer acres of durum and also experienced lower yields, resulting in a harvest of 6.7 million bushels, down 59% from last year's 16.4 million bushels.
For more information on the State Grain Lab, contact Craig Essebaggers at 406-452-9561 or by e-mail at CEssebaggers@mt.gov.