U.S. wheat imports are forecasted to be at their highest in six years for the 2023/24 marketing year, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Consecutive years of drought in key U.S. growing regions of hard red winter wheat have tapered U.S. output, elevating domestic prices. Millers have sought less expensive sources, including competitively priced wheat from the European Union. U.S. imports of hard red winter wheat, mostly from the EU, for 2023/24 are at 25 million bushels, a record high, and up from five million bushels from 2022/23. This trade flow is atypical as U.S. wheat imports are normally driven by hard red spring and durum wheat from neighboring Canada.
In 2017/18, imports from Canada of both classes of wheat were elevated because of drought-related supply issues in the United States. While U.S. imports of hard red winter wheat are elevated in 2023/24, imports of soft red winter and white wheat are relatively close to normal levels.