Montana Protein and Test Weight Schedule Survey, 2017/18 Update

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Key insights:

  • Another poor protein production year has resulted in high protein premiums and steep protein discounts.
  • Protein schedules are nearly identical for spring wheat.
  • For winter wheat, there are somewhat higher premiums and much steeper discounts for lower protein wheat.

Each of the past six years, I’ve collected (with some help from great graduate students) winter and spring wheat protein premium and test weight schedules from 20 grain elevator and processing facilities throughout the state. These locations are dispersed across the state, are from elevators of different handling and storage capacities, and are operated by 7 different agribusiness firms (both with private and co-operative management structures).

Click on the links below to view average premiums and discounts by protein and test weight for each of the five years. All premiums and discounts are in cents per bushel. Interestingly, the spring wheat schedule for 2017-18 appears to be very similar to that of last year, indicating that there is a continued substantial shortage of available protein in Montana wheat. So, many of the issues discussed in a similar post last year.

I also found it interesting that while spring wheat protein schedules did not change, winter wheat premiums became somewhat larger and discounts became quite a bit steeper. This is likely reflecting the large production  but low protein year in the central Plains states. When this occurs, exporters and domestic consumers typically look to northern U.S. wheat producers and imports to provide higher-protein wheat that can be blended. That is, Montana sees a higher demand for high protein wheat, resulting in higher premiums and steeper discounts (which are used to discourage the delivery of lower-protein grain).

Spring wheat protein premium schedule
Protein level2017-20182016-20172015-20162014-20152013-2014
Hard Red Spring Wheat16.50%60.160.547.5110.595.0
16.25%54.354.943.198.985.5
16.00%48.449.338.788.076.0
15.75%42.443.133.976.566.5
15.50%36.337.029.166.057.0
15.25%30.330.824.254.547.5
15.00%24.224.619.444.038.0
14.75%18.218.514.532.528.5
14.50%12.112.39.722.019.0
14.25%6.16.24.810.59.5
14.00%0.00.00.00.00.0
13.75%-10.8-11.4-9.7-21.1-13.1
13.50%-21.6-22.7-19.3-42.1-26.1
13.25%-32.4-34.1-29.0-63.2-39.2
13.00%-43.2-45.5-38.7-84.2-52.2
12.75%-54.0-56.8-48.3-105.6-65.3
12.50%-64.8-68.2-58.0-126.7-78.3
12.25%-75.6-79.6-67.7-147.8-91.4
12.00%-86.4-91.0-77.3-168.9-104.4
11.75%-96.7-95.8-79.3-187.9-117.2
11.50%-106.7-106.5-88.1-208.8-130.0
11.25%-116.7-117.1-96.1-231.0-142.8
11.00%-126.7-127.8-104.8-252.0-155.6
10.75%-139.1-138.4-113.5-278.6-170.4
10.50%-149.2-149.1-122.3-300.0-183.4
10.25%-159.3-159.7-131.0-321.4-196.3
10.00%-169.4-170.4-139.7-342.9-209.3
Winter wheat protein premium schedule
Protein level2017-20182016-20172015-20162014-20152013-2014
Hard Red Winter Wheat15.00%117.1102.831.37.513.8
14.75%100.988.828.16.912.8
14.50%100.588.827.66.411.9
14.25%84.374.724.45.810.9
14.00%83.974.723.95.39.9
13.75%65.759.619.74.48.9
13.50%65.359.619.23.68.0
13.25%48.644.514.93.17.0
13.00%48.244.514.42.56.0
12.75%32.029.410.12.15.0
12.50%31.629.49.51.74.1
12.25%15.414.34.91.33.1
12.00%15.014.34.60.82.1
11.75%0.40.00.30.41.1
11.50%-2.1-1.3-0.30.00.0
11.25%-2.6-1.3-0.5-2.3-2.3
11.00%-24.7-21.1-8.9-4.7-4.6
10.75%-35.7-21.1-9.2-7.1-6.9
10.50%-46.7-40.9-17.6-9.6-9.2
10.25%-47.2-40.9-17.9-12.0-11.5
10.00%-69.4-60.7-26.3-14.4-13.8
9.75%-70.0-60.7-26.4-16.9-15.7
9.50%-9.2-77.1-34.6-19.4-17.5
9.25%-92.8-77.1-34.9-21.7-19.6
9.00%-115.0-95.5-43.2-24.1-21.6
8.75%-115.3-95.5-43.5-26.5-23.6
8.50%-138.1-115.9-51.3-28.8-25.6
8.25%-149.4-115.9-51.6-31.2-27.7
8.00%-160.9-134.3-59.8-33.5-29.7
7.75%-163.9-123.8-57.1-36.6-31.7
7.50%-187.1-140.5-67.5-39.7-33.7
7.25%-189.2-140.5-67.8-42.6-35.8
7.00%-212.7-170.8-71.6-45.6-37.8
Spring wheat test weight discount schedule
Test Weight (lbs/bu)2017-20182016-20172015-20162014-20152013-2014
Hard Red Spring Wheat58.00-0.1-0.5-0.5-0.50.0
57.50-1.4-2.6-2.6-2.6-1.4
57.00-3.3-4.2-4.2-4.2-3.3
56.50-4.7-6.4-6.4-6.4-4.8
56.00-6.7-8.0-8.0-8.0-6.5
55.50-8.4-10.9-10.9-10.9-8.9
55.00-10.4-12.7-12.7-12.7-11.3
54.50-12.1-15.3-15.3-15.3-13.5
54.00-14.1-17.1-17.1-17.1-15.9
Winter wheat test weight discount schedule
Test Weight (lbs/bu)2017-20182016-20172015-20162014-20152013-2014
Hard Red Winter Wheat60.000.00.00.00.00.0
59.50-1.3-1.9-1.9-1.9-1.2
59.00-2.3-2.4-2.4-2.7-2.7
58.50-3.5-4.4-4.4-4.7-4.4
58.00-4.7-4.9-4.9-5.5-6.2
57.50-6.6-7.9-7.9-8.2-8.1
57.00-8.3-8.6-8.6-9.3-10.4
56.50-10.2-11.5-11.5-12.5-12.3
56.00-11.8-12.1-12.1-13.6-14.6
55.50-13.6-15.1-15.1-16.4-16.9

Are you facing something similar in your area? Do these appear to underestimate or overestimate the premiums and discounts that you’re seeing at elevators?

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About Author

Dr. Anton Bekkerman is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University, joining the faculty in 2009 after completing his PhD at North Carolina State University. Bekkerman's primary areas of research are grain marketing, basis and price forecast modeling, understanding how grain prices are affected by changes in supply chain infrastructures and quality demands, and analyzing the economic trade-offs of adopting alternative dryland cropping systems in Montana. One of his current projects is an investigation of how new grain loading technologies are affecting prices that Montana farmers receive for their wheat. Bekkerman is also examining the economic impacts that Montana's rapidly expanding dry pulse industry will have on the state's crop industry. Although Bekkerman grew up on the east coast, he has recently made a small step toward production agricultural after acquiring three backyard chickens.

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