WASHINGTON — In its first forecast of food use of wheat by class in the 2016-17 season, the Economic Research Service boosted the total food use expectations and also made significant changes among classes. Wheat food use in 2016-17 was projected at a record high of 968 million bus, compared with 957 million in the preceding year and 958 million in 2014-15. The indicated increase in food use this crop year of 11 million bus is one of the sharpest of recent years.
Food use of wheat first exceeded 900 million bus in 1997-98. Since that season through 2014-15, changes from year to year have been small.
In addition to the relatively large net gain, changes among various classes also were larger than usual. The E.R.S., in explaining the new estimates, said, “These changes move the proportional use by class away from average-based projections to proportions that more accurately reflect expectations of blending to attain desired protein levels and other milling properties.”
Thus, the E.R.S. reduced its forecast of food use of hard red winter wheat in 2016-17 to 365 million bus, contrasted with 391 million in 2015-16, a drop of 7%. At the same time, projected food use of hard red spring wheat was raised to 277 million, against 251 million in the previous crop year, or a gain of 10%. These two changes left combined food use of hard winter and hard spring wheat holding steady at 642 million bus.
Food use of soft red winter wheat showed little change, forecast at 155 million bus, up 2 million from 2015-16. In the case of white wheat, food use was estimated to reach 86 million bus, up 3 million from 2015-16.Another major change in food use estimates occurred in durum wheat. The forecast for 2016-17 food use of durum was placed at 85 million bus, compared with 79 million in 2015-16 and 75 million in 2014-15. The 79-million-bu figure for 2015-16 was boosted 4 million at the season’s close.