Sunday, 09 February 2014 04:58

How does Wheat Grow?

Did you know wheat changed the course of human civilization? 

 

 

 

  • Latin Name:

    Triticum

     

  • Growth:

     

    How does wheat grow?

     

    Wheat covers the majority of the world’s farmland. It is an annual grass that grows in a wide range of climates, however it is best adapted to temperate regions with an annual rainfall of 12 to 36 inches. The wheat grains grow at the top of the grass stems inside the seed head.

     

     

    There are two main types of wheat, winter wheat and spring wheat.

     

     

    Winter wheat is planted in the fall and harvested late spring/ early summer. 

     

     

    In areas with more intense winters, spring wheat is planted  in the spring and harvested in the fall.

     

    Time Lapse of Wheat Growing,

     

  • Propagation:

    How is wheat propagated?

     

    Winter wheat is planted in the fall and needs 6 to 8 weeks of growth before the soil freezes. It needs this time to develop a healthy root system. 

     

    Spring wheat should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, and it is harvested in fall. 

     

    Wheat has the ability to self-pollinate, producing a wide selection of varieties. Some domesticated varieties have lost the ability to self-pollinate and must be planted as seeds. 

     

  • Harvest:

    How is wheat harvest?

     

    Stalks  turn from green to a yellowish golden brown as they mature. Taste test the grains before harvesting. If the grain is doughy and soft, it is not yet ready. When the grain is firm and crunchy, it is ready for harvest. 

     

    If the wheat plot is small, the wheat heads are snipped off of the stem with a scythe or sickle.  Commercial growers use a combine harvester to harvest large amounts of wheat.  

      

     

  • Storage:

    What is the best way to store wheat?

    Wheat is best stored in its whole grain form in temperatures that average 70 to 75 F. It must be protected from heat. light and moisture as well as rats, mice and insects.

     

     

  • History:

    Where does wheat come from?

     

    Around 10,000 BC, before the cultivation of wheat, people subsisted on nuts, hunted animals and grass seeds.  As other forms of food disappeared during a  years-long drought around 9,000 BC, people came to depend exclusively on grass seed. It was first domesticated around this time in eastern regions of Turkey and Iran.  The main variety during initial cultivation was a starchy plant called Einkorn (Triticul beoticm). As the popularity of this grain grass grew, so did cross pollination of cultivars, forming a vast variety of hybrids.

     

    Wheat was the first crop to be cultivated by humans, and it changed the behavior of our ancestors from being  nomadic hunter/gatherers to establishing settlements of farmers around fields of a reliable food source.  Wheat was also fed to cattle which in turn produced meat and milk and further anchored people to their communities. 

     

     By 2,000 BC wheat was grown throughout Europe and Asia.  It was brought to the Americas by  European settlers in the early 1600s.

     

  • Top Producers:

    Which countries produce the most wheat annually?

     

    China, the United States, Russia, India, the Ukraine, and France are the countries that produce the most wheat.

  • Varieties:

    What are some common varieties of wheat?

     

    There are thousands of varieties of wheat, some of the most common include:

     

    Soft Wheat (T. compactum) or club wheat, has less gluten and is best used to make crackers, cakes, cookies, and pastries. 

     

    Hard Wheat (Triticum aestivum)  has a high gluten content and is used for baking bread.

     

    Durum Wheat (T. durum) is used for making pasta

  • Products:

    What are some common uses of wheat?

    Wheat is used to make pasta, bread, crackers, and chips.

    The starch and protein (gluten) found in wheat is used as an adhesive in both food and nonfood products. 

    Wheat starch is also used to replace the fat in desserts, not subtracting in the flavor, but complementing the overall flavor and texture. 

  • Top Health Benefits:

    Is wheat good for you?

     

    The majority of the vitamins in wheat are found within the bran and germ.

    Whole wheat has high nutritional value, containing calcium, proteins, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.  Once the bran and germ are removed to make white flour, most of the nutrients have been removed.  

     

    Wheat contains an oil called Wheat Germ oil.  It is a healthy supplement to any diet as it is loaded with vitamins and healthy fats.