HARD RED SPRING WHEAT
This is a specialty wheat grown primarily in the Northern Plains of the United States—stands out as the aristocrat of wheat when it comes to baking bread. The high protein content and superior gluten quality of hard red spring wheat make it ideal for use in some of the world’s finest baked goods. Yeast breads, hard rolls and specialty products such as hearth breads, whole grain breads, bagels and pizza crusts look and taste their best when baked with top quality spring wheat flour. Even frozen dough products are better with spring wheat because they can be stored longer than those made with lower protein wheats. Flour mills in the United States and around the world also use hard red spring wheat extensively as a blending wheat to increase the gluten strength in a batch of flour. Adding hard red spring to lower protein wheat improves dough handling and mixing characteristics as well as water absorption. The resulting flour can be used to make an assortment of bread products, as well as Chinese-type noodles.
The 2019 U.S. hard red spring wheat (HRS) crop produced well above average yields and high protein levels, with impacts from excessive rain, prolonging harvest and leading to less than typical quality for some key kernel parameters. Production is estimated at 559 million bushels (15.2 MMT), up eight percent from the 5-yr average, although down five percent from last year, on reduced planted area. Due to historic harvest rains, not all of the crop was able to be surveyed for this report. Final production estimates may also fall as portions of the crop remained unharvested as of mid-October.
Subclass is a separate marketing factor based on the number of kernels with a complete, hard and vitreous endosperm, the portion that makes flour. For hard red spring wheat the subclasses are:
- Dark Northern Spring (DNS)—at least 75 percent or more dark, hard, vitreous kernels;
- Northern Spring (NS)—between 25 and 74 percent dark, hard, vitreous kernels;
- Red Spring (RS)—less than 25 percent dark, hard, vitreous kernels.