Publications

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  • Hard White Wheat At A Crossroads

    WHS-04K01, December 14, 2004

    This article provides background on the forces that led to the expansion of hard white wheat (HWW) production, its milling and baking qualities that make it particularly suited for certain products, the adaptation of the marketing system to preserve its identity, and the prospects for HWW's production expansion. Up to now, HWW sales have been largely confined to the domestic market because the volume of production is not sufficiently large to sustain steady exports. HWW's end-use characteristics are particularly suited for whole-wheat products, pan breads, tortillas, and certain kinds of oriental noodles. Continuing expansion of HWW production would depend on the development of new, higher-yielding varieties that are more tolerant to sprout damage-a major problem in 2004-and continuation of the government incentive program.

  • Black Sea Grain Exports: Will They Be Moderate or Large?

    WRS-04-05-02, October 12, 2004

    This report examines the prospects for grain exports by the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Newly Independent States (NIS) that export through the Black Sea, the largest being Russia and Ukraine. If productivity growth in the region is high, annual grain exports by Black Sea countries could rise to 30-40 million tons. Such high exports would strongly affect the world grain market, since total annual world grain exports during 2000-03 averaged 237 million metric tons. This report is the second in a two-part series on the integration of CEE and NIS countries into global commodity markets.

  • Agricultural Exports From Grain and Soybean Producing States Rose in Fiscal 2002

    FAU-78-01, June 30, 2003

    Fiscal 2002 U.S. agricultural exports rose slightly from 2001. Most of the gain occurred in soybeans, feed grains, and wheat, as prices of those commodities increased. As a result, soybean and feed grain or wheat exporting States, such as Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Indiana, increased exports in 2002. North Dakota particularly benefited from increased wheat exports. California, which produces and exports primarily fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and other agricultural products had slightly reduced exports in 2002, even though it remained by far the largest agricultural exporting State.

  • Nontraditional Exporters Increase Role In Wheat Market

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2003

    Though the volume of world wheat trade has changed little in the past 15 years, shares of trade volume in exporting countries have changed quite a bit. The U.S. remains the largest exporter, but U.S. farmers are increasingly producing other crops, like corn and soybeans, so the U.S. share of the wheat market has fallen from 40 percent in the 1970s to 23 percent (forecast) for 2002/03. This shift in U.S. agricultural production, combined with rising prices caused by drought in three of the largest exporters—U.S., Australia, and Canada—has created opportunities for “nontraditional” wheat exporters.

  • Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Wheat Farms

    SB-974-5, July 15, 2002

    The average cost of producing a bushel of wheat was $3.97 for producers surveyed in 1998, ranging from about $1.25 to more than $6 per bushel. The cost of producing wheat generally declined as farm size increased. Regional differences in production practices and growing conditions were major influences on production costs and yields among wheat producers. Producers in the Prairie Gateway, a major wheat region, produced wheat at an average cost of $3.63 per bushel, the lowest cost among regions. Most high-cost farms and very large farms were in the Southeast region; these farms tended to be more diversified than farms in other regions, so wheat contributed a smaller share to their total farm income.

  • Wheat: Background and Issues for Farm Legislation

    WHS-0701-01, August 01, 2001

    Congress is considering new farm legislation to replace the expiring Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996. As background for these deliberations, this report provides information on supply, demand, and prices in the U.S. wheat sector and examines alternative policy choices.

  • Characteristics of U.S. Wheat Farming: A Snapshot

    SB-968, June 07, 2000

    Wheat growers' choice of production practices and geographic location were the major determinants of their costs of production, according to the findings of a 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One-fourth of surveyed farms reported using some form of conservation tillage, especially farms in the North Central, Northern Plains, and Southeast regions. On a per-bushel basis, low-cost farms tended to be small in terms of wheat acreage and total farm acreage. Differences in capitalization, tenure, and the use of custom services accounted for nearly 81 percent of the variation in the cost of producing wheat. Most size economies were realized at around 200 to 300 wheat acres.

  • Price Determination for Corn and Wheat: The Role of Market Factors and Government Programs

    TB-1878, August 02, 1999

    Annual models for U.S. farm prices for corn and wheat are developed based on market factors as well as government agricultural commodity programs. The pricing relationships utilize a stocks-to-use modeling framework to capture the effects of market supply and demand factors on price determination. This formulation is augmented by factors that represent the changing role of agricultural policies, particularly government price support and stockholding programs. For wheat, international market effects as well as wheat feed use and related cross-commodity pricing considerations also are included. Model properties and model performance measures are presented. Additionally, recent price-forecasting applications of the models are discussed. The relatively simple structure of the estimated price models and their small data requirements lend themselves to use in price-forecasting applications in conjunction with market analysis of supply and demand conditions. In particular, the models have been implemented into USDA's short-term market analysis and long-term baseline projections. In these applications, the models provide an analytical framework to forecast prices and a vehicle for making consistency checks among the Department's supply, demand, and price forecasts.

  • Commodity Program Provisions Under the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977

    AER-389, October 01, 1997

    Commodity program provisions of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 are summarized. Price support, loan level, disaster payment, program acreage, and other provisions of the legislation are discussed for wheat and feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, sugar, dairy products, and wool and mohair. Miscellaneous provisions and those applying to grain reserves and to the beekeeper indemnity program are also summarized.

  • Economic Implications of Cleaning Barley in the United States

    AER-745, November 01, 1996

    The costs of cleaning barley beyond the current level of cleanliness would outweigh the potential benefits. There is little commercial interest in the cleaning of barley moving into domestic malting and feed barley markets. The export market demand is primarily for feed barley.

  • Wheat: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation

    AER-712, April 03, 1995

    This report address considerations in the 1995 farm bill debate for wheat, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Surplus wheat stocks disappeared under the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. The aggregate U.S. wheat sector appears in balance due, in part, to acreage reduction programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, and the Export Enhancement Program. However, some industry participants wonder whether wheat carryover levels are optimal and whether the public will approve a continuation of government expenditures near current levels, while others want to maintain low carryover stocks. Exports will likely be the largest source of demand growth for U.S. wheat for the remainder of the 1990s. Global wheat trade is expected to expand steadily through the 1990s at a rate higher than the 1980s, but well below the rate experienced in the 1970s. The U.S. market share is expected to drop slightly over the next decade to about 31 percent as competition increases in a growing world market. Issues for the 1995 farm legislation include levels of program benefits and costs, methods for calculating deficiency payments, the future of the Conservation Reserve Program, farm program cost containment, planting flexibility, wheat imports, marketing loan provisions, targeting benefits to producers, environmental quality, and the future of the Export Enhancement Program.

  • Feed Grains: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation

    AER-714, April 03, 1995

    Policy issues likely to be considered in 1995 farm legislation are discussed, including planting flexibility, acreage idling under the acreage reduction program and conservation reserve program, and the malting barley assessment, as well as policy options to address these issues. Feed grains are the leading crop grown in the United States. U.S. feed grain production averaged 239 million tons per year in 1990-94. Total disappearance of feed grains is forecast to reach a record 267 million tons in the 1994/95 marketing year: 211 million tons for domestic use and 56 million tons for exports. Much of the expansion during the last two decades came from domestic use. Returns over cash expenses for corn producers during 1991-93 were only two thirds of those during 1988-90 due to rising cash expenses and declining government payments, but are expected to improve considerably in 1994/95 due to record yields. During 1990-93, world trade in coarse grains was sluggish and the U.S. share of world coarse grain trade was relatively low, averaging 52 percent. Slower growth of competitor exports and increased world import demand projected for the next decade, however, suggest that U.S. exports are likely to increase fairly steadily. During 1991-93, direct government payments as a percentage of annual gross income ranged from 12 to 17 percent for corn production.

  • Market-Oriented Agriculture: The Declining Role of Government Commodity Programs in Agricultural Production Decisions

    AER-671, June 01, 1993

    The portion of U.S. agricultural production covered by government income support payments has declined over the span of the last two 5-year farm acts. Consequently, nongovernmental supply and demand factors (market forces) are becoming more important in influencing farmers' production decisions. This report illustrates how agricultural supply has moved toward greater reliance on market forces (market orientation) by examining the declining role of government commodity programs in production decisions for corn, wheat, rice, and upland cotton. Payment coverage ratios, which measure the percentage of expected production covered by deficiency payments (income support payments made by the Federal Government to producers of certain agricultural commodities), have decreased. Thus, the role of government commodity programs in influencing farmers' production decisions at both the individual farm and national (aggregate) levels has declined. As a result, the share of US. cropland on which planting decisions are made based on market signals has increased, a trend toward market orientation that began with the 1985 farm act and continued with 1990 farm legislation.

  • Barley: Background For 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8965, December 01, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for barley, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Barley is the third leading feed grain grown in the United States. Production is concentrated in the Northern Plains and Pacific regions. Barley is mainly used for livestock feed and the manufacture of malt beverages. Feed use often accounts for well over half of total use. Barley is the most important grain product used by brewers. Exports are much smaller than domestic use and are highly variable. Barley yields have steadily risen, but production costs have also increased relative to returns. Government loan rates and target prices for barley are based on those for corn. Returns above cash expenses in recent years were considerably lower than during 1975-80. Returns have increased gradually since 1986. Government payments to barley growers, while relatively small compared with corn, have been a significant portion of barley net returns in recent years.

  • Wheat: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation

    AGES-8956, October 02, 1989

    This report address considerations in the 1990 farm bill debate for wheat, including market conditions, policy proposals, trade agreements, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. Surplus wheat stocks declined under the 1985 Food Security Act as exports expanded due in part to the export enhancement program and reductions in the loan rate. Cutbacks in wheat production and recent droughts in key producing areas further reduced wheat stocks and increased prices. Although burdensome stocks could easily return, there is also the risk of shortage and high prices if additional production shortfalls and demand increases occur in the near future. Exports will likely be the main source of demand growth for U.S. wheat. However, world trade is not expected to match the sharp expansion of the 1970s and competition among the major exporters may intensify. Issues for 1990 farm legislation include loan rate and target price levels, the level of farm program costs, planting flexibility, and the future of the export enhancement program.

  • Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985

    AIB-498, April 01, 1986

    The Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) establishes a comprehensive framework within which the Secretary of Agriculture will administer agriculture and food programs from 1986 through 1990. This report describes the Act's provisions for dairy, wool and mohair, wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, soybeans, and sugar (including income and price supports, disaster payments, and acreage reductions); other general commodity provisions; trade; conservation; credit; research, extension, and teaching; food stamps; and marketings. These provisions are compared with earlier legislation.