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Abstract

Questions have emerged in the United States and Canada regarding the role and function of quality in international markets. One has been the definition and composition of different market segments, with a particular focus on higher quality customers. In this study, trends in U.S. wheat exports are analyzed by class, grade, protein, and market segment. Analysis shows trends toward increases in exports of higher grades of Hard Amber Durum (HAD) and Hard Red Spring (HRS); whereas, exports of higher quality grades for Hard Red Winter (HRW) appear to be moderate. Exports of HRS, HRW, and HAD show increases in proportion of exports shipped at higher protein levels and increases in the proportion of exports where protein is specified. Cluster analysis for each class indicated there have been changes through time including: dockage levels for the highest quality segments declined, the percent of shipments specifying protein increased, and there is a shift toward more market segments. Shares of export volumes for the highest quality segments for both HAD and HRS more than doubled their share of export volume from 7% to 21% for HAD and 18% to 42% for HRS, while shares for the high quality segment for HRW were similar in size to earlier periods, although two moderate quality segments did emerge that were not present in earlier periods.

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