Poor durum wheat crop likely will mean higher prices or lower quality pasta for consumers

Economic Indicators Associated Press

A poor durum wheat crop means the pasta sold in supermarkets likely will be pricier or of poorer quality.

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Durum is ground into the semolina flour used to make pasta. About half of the nation's durum is produced in North Dakota, where wet weather during spring planting and the fall harvest led to a crop that's more than 4 percent smaller than last year's and of poorer quality.

Nationally, the crop is about 8 percent smaller than last year. And similar production problems in Canada and Europe brought global production to its lowest in 13 years.

National Pasta Association Executive Director Carol Freysinger says consumers will see an impact. But North Dakota Wheat Commission Marketing Director Jim Peterson says it likely won't be enough to turn shoppers away from noodles.