Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cornhusker Economics, May 4, 2022


Copyright © 2022 University of Nebraska


Hard red winter wheat (HRWW) is the largest wheat class grown in the United States, with approximately 660 million bushels produced in 2020, representing about 36% of total U.S. wheat production (USDA ERS 2021). The world market is an important destination for U.S. HRWW. In 2020, exports of U.S. HRWW represented 52% of U.S. production and total U.S. wheat exports represented 13% of total world exports (USDA ERS 2021). U.S. HRWW differs from other wheat classes based on physical characteristics such as color, kernel hardness and planting season as well as consistency in producing end uses such as pan and hearth style breads, hard rolls, croissants, general-purpose flour and blending (U.S. Wheat Associates 2019). U.S. HRWW is divided into five numerical grades and a sample grade based on test weight and total defects, reflecting the physical conditions of the sample (USDA FGIS 2014). U.S. HRWW is also tested for several nongrade characteristics that may affect the wheat’s milling and baking quality including dockage, moisture, protein, falling number, and color. These grade and nongrade characteristics are often used as indicators of the suitability of the wheat for milling and baking, and therefore, represent important factors in determining value. Wheat that is marketed to international buyers may require additional testing based on pre-established rules in each destination country.