Behind corn and soybeans, wheat ranks third in planted acreage among U.S. field crops. Wheat is one of the most important crops because it has thousands of varieties. Common wheat is used to make bread, durum wheat is used to make pasta, and club wheat is used for cakes, cookies, crackers, and flours. The crop isn’t only used for cooking/baking, it is also used for the production of starch, malt, paste, dextrose, alcohol, gluten, and many other products.
Here are 20 more interesting facts:
- A member of the Poaceae family also known as the grass family is wheat.
- The crop grows from the seed also known as the kernel. The kernel has 3 parts; the outer layer (bran), endosperm, and embryo (germ).
- The fruit called caryopsis is the crop’s kernel.
- There is common (Triticum aesitvum), durum (T. durum), and club (T. compactum); however, 95% of the crop produced is common.
- The crop originated from the Middle East and has been cultivated for thousands of years.
- In 1777, the crop was first planted as a hobby crop.
- Wheat is the most harvested crop in the world.
- The country producing the largest amount of the crop in the world is China.
- In 2016, China, India, Russia, United States, and France were the top five producers.
- In the United States, 42 out of the 50 states grow the crop.
- The wheat state also known as Kansas produces 20% of all the crop in the United States.
- Every continent except Antarctica grows the crop to some extent.
- The crop grows on 544.6 million acres which is more than any other food crop.
- Spring and winter wheat are the two categories of the crop.
- Plant spring wheat during the spring so it can be harvested during the summer.
- During the fall, plant winter wheat so it can be harvested during the spring.
- The crop needs 110 and 130 days between sowing and harvest depending upon climate and soil conditions.
- The crop grows between 2 and 4 feet tall; however, some varieties can grow as tall as 7 feet.
- The crop grows best at warmer temperatures (70° to 75° F).
- Farmers use combine harvesters to harvest the crop.
Written by: Amber DiCarlo, Marketing Intern