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How Is Wheat Grown and Harvested?

When planting seeds, especially by hand, it is important to make sure the seeds are spread out properly.
Wheat should be watered 2-3 times a day in the hot summer months.
Some insecticide is almost always required to protect wheat from pests, with its type depending on the season.
Wheat ears along with a small pile of wheat kernels (also known as wheat berries).
A farmer uses a tractor to till a field before planting.
Sunset over a wheat field.
Wheat and wheat flour.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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Wheat is a main component of many daily diets around the world. However, few people understand the basics of growing and harvesting this important food. In actuality, the process is fairly straightforward, involving a simple preparation of the land, the seeding and nurturing stage, and the harvesting procedure.

The process of growing wheat begins with testing the mineral content of the soil and making sure it is viable for planting. Along with soil testing, it is also important to break up the topsoil, so that the seeds can be planted with ease. Depending on the size of the operation, this may be accomplished by using a rake and shovel, or relying on high tech equipment such as a commercial tiller. Often, the addition of fertilizing agents will take place before the seed is actually planted.

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Once the land is prepared, the seeds are sown in the furrows created by the raking or use of the wheat drill. When sowing by hand, a simple half circular movement with the wrist will spread the seeds properly. For larger areas, attaching a wheat drill to the tractor will allow the seeds to be spread evenly and in place. Once the seeds are in place, the area must be watered properly. Crops will absorb a large amount of water in a short period of time, so the area must be soaked thoroughly. However, farmers should refrain from watering the area to the point that water is left standing.

When planting a summer crop, the area should be watered at least two or three times during the hottest months. This will provide the moisture needed to help the wheat crop grow properly. For a winter crop, there is a good chance that watering during the season will not be necessary. The ground must be tested from time to time to ensure that the moisture content remains within acceptable levels.

In all seasons, the use of some sort of insecticide is nearly always required. The exact type will depend on the season and the type of infestation that is native to the area. County agents can provide details on both commercial and natural insecticides that will work well in a given location and climate.

The final step in growing wheat is harvesting it. Once it stems, the time for harvesting has arrived. Using a scythe to manually harvest the kernels is the time-honored process. For large crops, the use of a combine machine allows for quick and easy harvesting of acres of wheat in a short period of time. After harvesting, the process of separating any chaff prepares the end product for grinding into flour or other applications.

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Discuss this Article

anon933614
Post 18

Wheat bread is healthier than white bread.

anon925093
Post 17

Is wheat good for you if you eat it raw?

anon340296
Post 15

Brown bread is better healthwise, especially in the long term.

anon313644
Post 11

Why is wheat brown?

anon273444
Post 7

I would greatly appreciate if you could confirm the following point: That wheat germ is a grass that grows out of wheat in the early stages of wheat growing - it is not part of the grain. Is this correct?

anon158789
Post 3

The wheat germ (inside the kernel center) has most nutrition, quite a bit actually. The outside of the kernel is the bran. It is good for regular digestive and waste elimination. The stuff between the germ and bran is what wheat white bread is made from. It is low in nutrition, low in bran, but easy to bleach and process so more profitable.

When my Dad and Mom were children, their Mothers made their own bread -- most folks did. Then white bread sold in stores came out big time and actually became a sort of status symbol.

When I was growing up I did not know any bread but white whether Italian, French or sandwich. We also drank Kool-aid and sodas with tons of sugar. My parents did not know any better. Having been raised in the Depression they thought it was important to save money but feed their families right.

My one grandfather literally "worked for food" on farms to feed his family. He was one tough Mick who was in an orphanage until 15 years when he ran away to live on a farm where he had worked from time to time for the Catholic orphanage in Philadelphia. The farmer liked him and my Grandfather stayed there until 19 years. He did not like the beatings or discipline of the nuns. Life was different then. If you were Italian Catholic you went to a different church than the Irish or Polish or German Catholics.

So white bread is good for pigeons and seagulls but not for folks interested in nutrition. The same goes for rice. Brown rice far superior to white rice for same reasons as wheat. But if you ever find a Chinese Restaurant that serves brown rice (not fried rice) please let me know!

cmsmith10
Post 2

@grumpyguppy: Generally, whole wheat or whole grain breads tend to have more fiber than white bread. One thing to remember is that if the wheat bread does not specifically say “whole wheat”, it is a mixture of whole wheat flour and enriched white flour.

Whereas wheat bread has more fiber, white bread usually has more calcium.

GrumpyGuppy
Post 1

Concerning bread, why is wheat bread considered better than white bread?

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