Hard Red Wheat Prices – Historical Graph

Real-time chart of historical daily hard red wheat prices. The prices are shown in metric ton.
The current price is and is last updated on .
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Hard Red Wheat Prices Explained

Hard red wheat prices started 2024 on a positive note as its futures closed higher last week (the first Thursday of January). The commodity bounced off after its one-month low after China looked to import more U.S. soft red winter wheat.

As a result, Chicago March wheat climbed 1¼¢ ( U.S. cent ) to close at $4.66½ per bushel. Kansas City March wheat followed with an added 2 1⁄4¢ to close at $6.28 per bushel. While this is a good sign for a possible bullish market, several present factors actively contribute to the fluctuation of hard red wheat prices.

Why are hard red wheat prices fluctuating?

1. Geopolitical Issues

Ukraine is a major wheat exporter ( 10% of the global production ). However, the present war in the country created huge production gaps and its exports were continuously reduced which significantly affected the supply chain. Additionally, the sanctions on Russia triggered panic buying and speculative trading, spiking hard red wheat prices.

For instance, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) saw hard red wheat futures jump by 12% in a single week in the third quarter of 2023 due to heightened market anxiety because of the conflict.

2. Unpredictable Weather

Drought conditions in major wheat-producing regions like the U.S. and Canada lessened crop yields, further tightening the global supply. Conversely, excessive rainfall in Australia influenced harvesting and transportation, adding to the hard red wheat price pressure. Due to these weather issues, the US Department of Agriculture estimated a 5% decline in U.S. hard red wheat production for 2023 as the summer drought in the Great Plains affected the crop’s yield.

3. Export Demand Fluctuations

The consumer’s initial reaction to Ukraine’s conflict resulted in panic buying which caused its prices to increase. However, the latter part of 2023 saw a softening export demand due to global recession concerns which led to reduced consumption and increased stockpiles in some importing countries.

Conversely, China’s rain-damaged crops resulted in low domestic supply which prompted the country to accelerate its U.S wheat imports ( an average of more than 2 million tons of soft red winter wheat ). Thus, this offsets the cooling hard red wheat prices and boosts the U.S. wheat export market.

4. Rising Production Costs

Inflation, high energy prices, and fertilizer shortages pushed up production costs for wheat farmers throughout 2023. Therefore, this squeezed their profit margins and even discouraged them from planting, further impacting supply.

A survey by the Kansas Wheat Commission found that 60% of wheat farmers in the state faced significant cost increases in the previous year due to fertilizer and fuel prices. Additionally, hard red wheat production continuously goes southward ( down 44% year over year, its lowest record in more than 30 years ). Overall, this production issue will soon affect the stability of the supply chain which in turn pushes hard red wheat prices up.

Which variables impact the price of hard red wheat?

  • Geopolitical Issues
  • Unpredictable Weather
  • Export Demand Fluctuations
  • Rising Production Costs
  • Global Demand and Supply
  • Currency Exchange Rate

Where does hard red wheat come from?

Hard red wheat or red wheat contains high protein content and is highly used in baking. The majority of this variety grows in the Midwest Plains states. It is called ‘red wheat’ due to its reddish-hued husk.

Additionally, it is planted during fall ( from September to December ), sprouts before freezing occurs, and goes dormant during winter. When the spring sun warms the soil, it continues growing.

Throughout the summer months, hard red wheat basks under the warm sun. Additionally, proper irrigation and fertilization during this crucial stage ensure optimal grain development. Farmers monitor nitrogen levels closely as this nutrient plays a key role in protein content which is important in baking quality.

By late summer or early fall, the fields transform into a stunning canvas of golden wheat. When grain moisture content reaches ideal levels, the harvest season begins. Massive machines equipped with cutting bars and threshers roll through the fields and reap the bounty.

Then, the combines separate the grain from the chaff by leaving the golden kernels ready for storage and transportation. These kernels will undergo milling and processing, according to their specific applications.

What are the uses of hard red wheat?

Hard red wheat’s versatility offers much more than baking. It’s part of the nutritious diet, biofuel production, and feedstocks:

1. Bread and Bakery Products – Bread remains the king of hard red wheat applications. Its gluten strength creates a strong dough structure, allowing for crusty loaves with a satisfying chew. Also, bakeries utilize hard red wheat for pastries, rolls, bagels, and pasta, satisfying our daily carb cravings.

2. Cereals and Breakfast Foods – Its flour forms the base for many breakfast favorites. This includes instant oatmeal, hot cereals, and granola bars. Its subtle sweetness and nutritional value help fuel our mornings.

3. Crackers and Cookies – The hardness of hard red wheat is perfect for creating crunchy treats. Its flour is used in making delicious crackers, cookies, and wafers, offering a satisfying bite.

4. Industrial Uses – Beyond human consumption, it finds its way into various industrial applications. Its starch is used in adhesives, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Also, ethanol production utilizes wheat, contributing to renewable fuel sources.

5. Animal Feed – Hard red wheat, along with other grains plays a crucial role in animal feed. Its protein content helps nourish poultry, livestock, and even fish. A sustainable source in the food chain.

6. Distilled Spirits – Whiskey, vodka, and some beers use fermented wheat as their base alcohol. Hard red wheat has a specific starch profile which adds distinct flavors and textures.

7. Potential Future – Hard red wheat’s gluten properties are under study for possible bioplastics and biodegradable packaging base materials.

Side notes: Hard red wheat is compatible with the Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet, and Low-carb Diet.

What is the future price of hard red wheat?

The market faces a delicate balance between rising demand due to population growth, growing disposable incomes, and fluctuating supply due to weather issues, trade disruptions, and geopolitical tensions. Additionally, the rising dietary shifts towards organic produce mean low meat and processed food consumption, and more sustainable eating habits.

Furthermore, the alarming rise of weather temperatures due to global warming will largely affect the production output of this commodity as its growth relies on cooler climates. Overall, these are the experts’ predictions of potential price scenarios for hard red wheat in 2030:

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook – Estimates a moderate hard red wheat price increase, reaching $10.40 per bushel by 2030.

Wallet Investor – Provides a bullish forecast, projecting a price of $15.26 per bushel by 2027, with potential further increases by 2030.

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