Does the drought affect wheat quality and how?
Evelyn, thanks for your great question! Drought can affect wheat quality. Many years, when Hard Red Winter wheat farmers suffer from drought, the protein of the wheat they grow increases while the crop's yield decreases.
Typically, the nation's millers and bakers like to receive wheat that has about 12% protein.
In 2012, the Kansas wheat crop averaged 12.4% protein. However, southwest Kansas - which suffered from extreme drought - averaged 13.5% protein. That just means that millers will have to blend wheat containing lower protein with that higher protein wheat to achieve the optimum protein value.
Incidentally, protein content is what gives dough its strength and elasticity, and provides gas-retention properties in a yeast-leavened product.