U.S. Durum Production Increasing, Food Use Remains Stable

U.S. durum wheat production is expected to increase in the 2022/23 marketing year after last year’s drought reduced production to its lowest in 60 years. USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Monday production in 2022/23 is forecast at 64 million bushels, up 70 percent from the previous marketing year, but below the average of the previous five years. Durum wheat is the primary class of wheat used to produce pasta. Food use of durum was elevated in marketing years 2019/20 and 2020/21, fueled by surging consumer demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, when shoppers stocked up on pasta while in quarantine. While the surge in demand has since subsided, consumer prices for wheat-based products, including pasta, are up substantially in 2022. This year’s larger durum crop, along with larger Canadian production, has eased some supply pressure. However, high commodity prices in general and elevated input, labor, and energy costs have each contributed to higher prices for the manufactured products of wheat, including pasta.

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