This year has been monumental for Kansas Wheat organizations. The Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers leadership came together to begin industry changing endeavors. Looking back at 2013, it will be remembered as one of the first steps taken in positioning Kansas as a national leader in the wheat industry. Here is the Kansas Wheat Year in Review.
The Kansas Wheat Innovation Center: Construction ended just over a year ago on the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center and the hardhats are back to add more. The building has become a hub for wheat research and soon will play host to more tenants. Two areas are under construction to be finished into a molecular lab and genetics lab. The new space will be used by Wheat Genetic Resource Center and Kansas State University scientists. Throughout the year, the Center has also garnered visitors from all around the world, to see firsthand wheat farmers investing in their future.
Ohio Woman Wins National Festival of Breads: Rosemary Leicht, Bethel, Ohio, won the $2000 Grand Prize at the 2013 National Festival of Breads bread-baking competition in Manhattan June 22. Leicht’s recipe, “Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread” was selected from among eight finalist recipes baked and judged at the public competition. The first ever youth category winner was Mardi Traskowsky from Herington, Kansas with her recipe “Family Italian Bread.” Finalists traveled to Manhattan from across the country to learn more about wheat production and compete in the contest. Meanwhile, hundreds of Kansans came to the National Festival of Breads to attend baking demonstrations.
Wheat Crop Grades Well: Quality of the 2013 Kansas winter wheat crop varied across the state along with production and dramatically differing growing conditions. The crop was most hard-hit by the drought in the western third where it produced lower yields and smaller kernels but noticeably higher proteins. The crop benefited from timely rains in the central and eastern portions of the state producing higher than average yields, with slightly lower proteins but good kernel milling characteristics. Overall, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported 85 percent of the crop graded #1.
World’s First National Science Foundation Center for Wheat: The National Science Foundation named Kansas State University as the lead institution for the world’s first Industry/University Cooperative Research Center focused on wheat. The NSF I/UCRC Wheat Genetics Resource Center will be housed at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center where scientists will conduct research on wheat germplasm improvement, using the gene bank of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center. The center is the first National Science Foundation established research center for any crop plant and will focus on improving the production and disease resistance of wheat and serve as a training hub for graduate students and young researchers.
Brazil Becomes Major HRW Customer: The U.S. wheat industry’s biggest hard red winter 2013 year to date customer came as a pleasant surprise to Kansas wheat farmers. Due to a temporary tariff change, Brazil, one of the world’s leading wheat importers, leaned on the U.S. in 2013 to feed their need for wheat purchasing 3.15 million metric tons or 115.6 million bushels. Brazil is South America’s largest wheat importing market, but typically only purchases about 400,000 MT per year from the U.S., instead relying on fellow Mercosur member Argentina for the bulk of its wheat imports. This year, however, both Brazil and Argentina’s wheat crops fell short. That supply situation, combined with concerns of inflation in Brazil, caused exports to South America to skyrocket, up 863 percent from last year’s sales. The next biggest hard red winter purchaser is the traditional customer, Nigeria, at over 1.5 MMT purchased this marketing year.
25 Billionth Bushel State Fair Booth Wins Champion Award: Kansas Wheat’s 25 Billionth Bushel themed booth at the Kansas State Fair took home a champion ribbon for the best inside exhibit. It centered on the growth of the Kansas wheat industry and the productivity of farmers. The booth featured the actual 25 billionth bushel of wheat harvested in the past 100 years of Kansas farming by Mike and Tanner Brown in Colby, Kansas. Located in the Pride of Kansas Building, the Kansas Wheat Booth was a main attraction with a timeline of the progression of wheat farming in the state of Kansas.