marketing winter wheat

Marketing flexibility is just one of the many benefits winter wheat provides to growers. Winter wheat offers the potential for early movement, timely cash flow during harvest, and more efficient use of storage. Producers can make better marketing decisions by knowing what markets are available plus the standards and marketing details associated with each market option.

Winter wheat has three market options: milling, feed, and ethanol.


CWRW is utilized as a blending flour in North America, in pan breads and throughout the world in applications that do not require gluten strength. It competes directly with CPS in Canada and HRW out of the U.S. Winter wheat is known for its white flour colour and high flour yield.


Local feed marketing options may provide superior returns due to early availability. There are a number of buyers including local feed mills, hog operations, and feedlots.

Standards for feed wheat are generally less comprehensive than for milling wheat and vary by purchaser. Growers should check with specific buyers regarding their requirements. CWRW and General Purpose varieties may all be accepted by the feed and ethanol markets.

Four main quality factors are considered by feed wheat purchasers:

  • Vomitoxin
    Winter wheat is a low risk to Fusarium (producer of vomitoxin) as its early growth habit allows it to avoid the disease most years. Application of a fungicide registered for Fusarium Head Blight at early heading is an option in years when the risk of disease development is high. Tolerances for vomitoxin range from zero to one ppm depending on the buyer and the end use.
  • Protein
    Requirements vary from no minimum to a minimum of 11.0 per cent. For CWRW varieties, protein under 11.0 per cent is an indicator that the crop may not have had enough nitrogen to achieve maximum yield.
  • Test Weight
    Requirements are variable, but most buyers have minimum requirements of 58 to 60 lbs/bushel.
  • Moisture
    Winter wheat is dry at 14.5 per cent moisture. Requirements vary, as some buyers stipulate grain must be dry while others accept grain to a maximum of 15.5 per cent moisture.


Winter wheat fits well into ethanol production due to its high starch content. Starch is the source of sugars used to create ethanol. For this reason, purchasers are mainly interested in low protein and high starch content.

Some of the requirements for ethanol are:

  • Weight: 58 lbs/bu minimum
  • Moisture: dry, maximum 15 per cent
  • Sprouting: 10-15 per cent maximum

As with the feed market, producers should contact the buyer for more specifics.

marketing fact card

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