Improving End-use Quality of Wheat
There are many varieties of wheat, each with unique traits that influence its quality and how it can be used. Because they have diverse uses for wheat, different industrial partners prefer specific varieties. In the Pacific Northwest (PNW), about 85% of the wheat is exported, mostly to Asian and Middle Eastern countries where it is made into noodles, cookies, steamed breads, flat breads and other similar products. The total market value of U.S. wheat exported to Asian countries alone is estimated at over $400 million per year; however, exports have been declining over the last 20 years because of increased competition from Australia, Canada and eastern European countries. In order to remain competitive, PNW producers need to be continually improving overall grain quality and developing innovative wheat varieties. This requires a clear understanding of how wheat quality is affected by genetics and agricultural practices, such as tilling, fertilizing, and processing.
The farming community and wheat industries must collaborate to set quality standards and make sure that technologies and practices protect wheat quality. If wheat quality is not improved, U.S. wheat producers will not be able to provide a steady supply of high quality wheat for industrial partners and consumers.
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