Milling & Baking News - January 29, 2008 - (Page 1)

THE NEWS WEEKLY OF GRAIN-BASED FOODS JANUARY 29, 2008 / Ominous signals for long-term wheat picture in hard winter acreage cut NEWS Quest for crunch Texture of batters, breadings must withstand harsh conditions. Story on Page 23 LATE NEWS I.B.A. seeking whole grain guidelines WASHINGTON - The Independent Bakers Association is urging the Food and Drug Administration to establish reference daily intake or daily reference value in nutrient content claims for whole grain products. The I.B.A. wrote to the agency in response to a Nov. 2 notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on changes and possible new R.D.I. and D.R.V. The bakers said an R.D.I. or D.R.V. must be established by the F.D.A. for the grain-based foods industry to use terms such as "excellent source" or "good source" with regard to whole grain foods. "It is time to allow Continued on Page 10 KANSAS CITY - While a combination of factors contributed to a reduction in hard winter plantings last fall from the year before, analysts interviewed by Milling & Baking News saw the data as part of a larger, darkening picture for the long-term outlook for U.S. wheat acreage. Even with prices at record highs and sharply above corn prices, growers continue to be drawn to alternative crops, the analysts said. Area seeded to winter wheat for harvest in 2008 totaled 46,610,000 acres, up 1,623,000 acres, or 4%, from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Winter Wheat Seedings report issued Jan. 11 (see Milling & Baking News of Jan. 15, Page 1). Although the largest winter wheat planted area since 47,985,000 acres in 1997, the U.S.D.A. estimate was well below trade expectations, which averaged near 48.7 million acres. Wheat futures markets in Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis reacted by moving up the 30c-a-bu daily limit in nearly all months the day the report was released and continued moving higher in Kansas City and Minneapolis in the days that followed. Hard wheat futures price gains were fueled by the U.S.D.A.'s estimate of hard red winter wheat seedings of 32.5 million acres, down 1% from 32.94 million acres a year earlier and nearly 7% below trade expectations. Soft red winter wheat seedings were estimated Continued on Page 35 Saudi Arabia to phase out government support to wheat growers RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia indicated it will begin phasing out its remaining support to the nation's wheat producers. The government will reduce its purchases of wheat from domestic growers by 12.5% each year, ending all such purchases by 2016. The decision will bring to an end a 30-year program of self-sufficiency in wheat. It was expected by the time support to domestic producers ends, Saudi Arabia will be dependent, perhaps en- tirely dependent, on other nations for its wheat supply for the first time since the mid-1980s. It was suggested the turnabout in policy marked recognition that irrigation-dependent agriculture was rapidly depleting the kingdom's underground water supply. Also, the world's economy and politics are different today from what they were when Saudi Arabia embarked on its drive toward self-sufficiency in wheat. The Saudi Arabia program of self-sufficiency in principal agricultural crops, particularly wheat, was conceived in the 1970s, a decade marked by worldwide economic uncertainty, commodity embargoes and war in the Middle East. While the U.S. and world economies began to weaken years earlier, many Continued on Page 16

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Milling & Baking News - January 29, 2008