Club Wheat Premiums
Club wheat is a subclass of soft white wheat grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Traders use club wheat to mix with normal soft white wheat. This creates a product called western white wheat which is in demand in countries like Japan. They use the grain to make sponge cakes and similar baked goods.
Historically traded at even money to soft white wheat, this year has been different for the club wheat market. Here’s Washington Grain Commission CEO Glen Squires.
Squires…”Normally there is no premium. It's generally the same price as soft white wheat, but when you go along for two or three or four years with no premium, then growers kind of start backing away from it. Right now it's actually about $1.50 a bushel premium to soft white wheat.”
Contributing to the spike has been fewer planted acres. After years of receiving no premium to soft white wheat and discounts for falling numbers, many farmers decided to plant less club wheat.
Japan is by far the #1 buyer of western white wheat, but other buyers include Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Squires speculates that we will see increased club wheat plantings as a result of the premium, but acres may be limited by seed availability.