The wheat plant is an annual, probably derived from a perennial; the ancestry of and precise distinctions between species are no longer always clear. For its early growth wheat thrives best in cool weather. Among the more ancient, and now less frequently cultivated, species are einkorn (T. monococcum), emmer (T. dicoccum), and spelt (T. spelta). Modern wheat varieties are usually classified as winter wheats (fall-planted and unusually winter hardy for grain crops) and spring wheats. Approximately three fourths of the wheat grown in the United States is winter wheat.

Flour from hard wheats (varieties evolved for the most part from T. aestivum) contains a high percentage of gluten and is used to make bread and fine cakes. The hardest-kerneled wheat is durum (T. durum); its flour is used in the manufacture of macaroni, spaghetti, and other pasta products. White- and soft-wheat varieties are paler and have starchy kernels; their flour is preferred for piecrust, biscuits, and breakfast foods. Wheat is used in the manufacture of whiskey and beer, and the grain, the bran (the residue from milling), and the vegetative plant parts make valuable livestock feed. Before the introduction of corn into Europe, wheat was the principal source of starch for sizing paper and cloth.

 

Wheat Production Today

The great wheat-producing countries of the world are the United States, China, and Russia; extensive wheat growing is carried on also in India, W Europe, Canada, Argentina, and Australia. In the United States the wheat belt covers the Ohio Valley, the prairie states, and E Oregon and Washington; Kansas leads the states in production. Large-scale mechanized farming and continued planting of wheat without regard to crop rotation have exhausted the soil of large areas. High-yield wheat, one of the grains resulting from the Green Revolution, requires optimal growth conditions, e.g., adequate irrigation and high concentrations of fertilizer.

Wheat is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Poaceae (Gramineae).

 

Winter wheat
Spring wheat
Late autumn sown wheat
Oilseed Varieties
Winter oilseed rape
Spring oilseed rape*
Spring linseed
Barley Varieties
Winter barley
Spring barley
Oat Varieties
Winter oats
Spring oats
Winter triticale
Winter rye
Wheat Varieties
Winter wheat
Spring wheat
Winter oilseed rape
Spring oilseed rape
Spring linseed
Barley Varieties
Winter barley
Spring barley
Oat Varieties
Winter oats
Spring oats
Other Crops
Winter triticale
Winter rye

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