Wheat & Flour Quality

We call it WORLD CLASS FLOUR. Here's why.

There are dozens of wheat varieties that farmers can choose to produce. For the farmer, many factors go into deciding which wheat varieties to grow, but Shepherd’s Grain farmers know that they have a short list of varieties that we will accept. Through extensive quality testing, we only accept the highest end-use quality varieties. Our wheat is identity-preserved from the farms through the milling process with Grain Craft, and this allows us to micro-manage our wheat for the highest levels of consistency. We invite our customers to enter into the collaborative process of producing the best baking flours and the resulting high-quality bread products.

Wheat Breeding, Classes & Varieties

First, some terminology. Wheat is categorized into six different "classes": Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Soft Red Winter, Soft White, Hard White, and Durum. Each of these classes contain dozens of different "varieties" that have different agronomic and baking qualities. So a farmer who wants to plant a crop of Hard Red Winter wheat has a multitude of varieties of that class to choose from.

These different wheat varieties, with their unique DNA, differ amongst themselves when it comes to baking quality. Generally speaking, wheat varieties are not released by wheat breeders unless they have acceptable end-use quality. But there can be a big difference in quality between "acceptable" end-use quality and "exceptional" end-use quality.

End-use quality is measured with analytical tools like the farinograph, along with actual bake tests that score the workability of the dough and measure loaf volume. Wheat quality councils around the country analyze many of the varieties released by both private and public wheat breeders in order to score them and identify which ones have acceptable end-use quality.


Shepherd's Grain maintains longstanding relationships with both private and public wheat breeders. Communication with the wheat breeders gives us the ability to identify which varieties may be acceptable for our high standards.

Blank 2000 x 2000 (39)

We rely on the opinions of the wheat quality councils, which are made up of millers, universities, and scientists. These councils identify varieties that are not acceptable, and this process is an early gate to eliminate varieties that we will not accept.


Working with varieties that are at least rated acceptable by the councils, we recognize that varieties also have different sensory attributes. For instance, there may be a Hard Red Winter variety that bakes into an impressive looking loaf of bread. But is its crumb and crust color appealing? What about its flavor? How does its aroma hit the nose? These attributes can vary widely between varieties. Shepherd's Grain performs its own bake tests to pick the best of the best of the wheat varieties available to farmers.

harvest sample

This process results in an Accepted Variety List that we provide to our farmers. These varieties perform well in the field, and they are the cream of the crop for the bakery setting. Because our farmers want to grow the highest quality food they can, these bake tests are invaluable.

At harvest time each Shepherd's Grain farmer submits a small sample of their wheat to go through farinograph and bake testing. This provides us data for each grower, including protein, absorption, mixing tolerance, stability, loaf volume, etc. We know the variety grown by each farmer is excellent, and we know everything about that variety once it is harvested.

trucks and grain bins

Shepherd's Grain is a uniquely managed identity-preserved supply chain, and it takes a lot of hard work and diligence by the farms, Shepherd's Grain, and the flour mill, to make it happen. The commodity wheat system is not set up for identity-preservation of grains, and while mills try to manage the quality of the wheat that comes into their facilities, they often do not know much about that wheat except for its protein content.

Shepherd's Grain is different and is able to micro-manage quality at levels that most mills cannot, and this results in superior quality and consistency.

Grain Craft McPherson

Grain Craft, the exclusive miller of Shepherd's Grain flour in the U.S., identity-preserves Shepherd's Grain wheat through the milling process. Grain Craft's expertise on wheat varieties, flour production, and their management of quality control at their mills brings Shepherd's Grain's World Class Flours to market.