Wheat is worldwide the third most-important cereal after maize and rice, but it is the most important cereal of the temperate regions. It has been cultivated domestically for at least 11,000 years. Wheat flour has many uses, but its main use is to make bread, a staple food for many people around the world.

Important wheat producing countries include China, India, United States, Russia and France.

In 2010 the estimated world production was 650,881,002 Metric Tons (source FAOSTAT), which corresponds to about 94 kg per person (in 2010 the world had about 6.9 billion persons). But of course not all this is consumed by people; it can for example also be used as animal feed.


   Triticum aestivum
   Bread wheat
   Common wheat
   Gewone tarwe
   Blé tendre
   Grano tenero



Basic information and facts


Wheat’s origin is in the Near East, Mesopotamia


It is grown in temperate climates around the world. The main wheat producing countries are The United States, Canada, China, India, Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine and Australia.


A domesticated annual cereal grass.


The flowers are complete and self-pollinate.

Climate and weather:

Grows in a temperate climate.


Generally a self pollinating plant.


The height of plants depends on the variety and is often between 0.5 and 1.2 meters (2-4 feet).

Growing period

The growing period depends on the location. For example in the United States, winter wheat is planted in the fall and matures in the summer, while spring wheat is planted after the last winter frost, and it also matures in the summer. In Bangladesh wheat is grown in the relatively cooler winter season (December -February).

Growth rate:

Depending on weather, seed type and soil conditions, wheat usually requires from 110 to 130 days between planting and harvest. However, winter wheats which are planted in fall will remain dormant during the cold winter time, and take much longer to maturity.

Spacing (close range)


Spacing (wide range)



Propagated by sowing the seeds.

Insect pests:





When wheat is mature it gets a golden color. The heads of the grain get heavy with the weight of the kernel which causes bending of the stalks. Harvesting is done by cutting the stalks, either by hand or with special harvesting machines. After harvesting, the grains are separated from the stalks and chaff. The kernels can then be be ground into flour.


The grain is used to make flour for preparing breads, biscuits, cookies and cakes. It is also used to make pasta or noodles or couscous. Some breakfast cereals contain wheat. Other uses are to brew beer or to prepare other alcoholic beverages. A more recent use is as a bio-fuel. Wheat straw is often used as a fodder for livestock, while it is sometimes used for thatched roofs.

Proverbs and Quotes

  • You have to separate the chaff from the wheat.
  • There is no wheat without chaff.
  • If you borrow some chaff from the rich man you have to repay him with wheat.
  • A hungry hen sees herself in a wheat silo.
  • He knows how many grains to a bushel of wheat.
  • But what is the chaff to the wheat?
  • A hungry man is glad to get boiled wheat.
  • Who sows barley cannot reap wheat.
  • He that will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.
  • Without sowing a single wheat you would not harvest thousand ones.
  • Wheat stalks heavy with grain learn how to bow their heads.
  • Even a blind dove finds a grain of wheat at times.
  • A blind crow may sometimes find a grain of wheat.
  • God gives the wheat, He doesn’t bake the bread.
  • And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. (Bible quote)
  • The first time I tried organic wheat bread, I thought I was chewing on roofing material. (Robin Willams)
  • An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff. (A.E. Stevenson)
  • Plant a kernel of wheat and you reap a pint; plant a pint and you reap a bushel. (Anthony Norvell)

Did you know that?

  • More types of foods are made with wheat than any other cereal grain.
  • Whole wheat flour is produced by grinding or mashing the wheat’s whole grain, which consists of bran, germ and endosperm.
  • To make white flour the bran and germ are removed, so it contains only the endosperm.
  • Whole flour is more nutritious than refined white flour.


Whole wheat pancakes


  • 1.5 cup sifted whole wheat
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil


  • Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine eggs, milk and oil and add this to the dry ingredients. Stir all the ingredients and then bake in a hot lightly greased flat pan.
  • Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Crop categories

Alcoholic drinks
Energy crops
Food crops
Temperate crops
Staple food
Industrial crops
Alcohol production



Wheat field in The Netherlands



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