Classes and Uses of Wheat
It is that time of year when the combines are harvesting those golden waves of grain in northwest Ohio.
In 2009 Paulding County harvested 50,500 acres of wheat and averaged 67.0 bushels per acre based on the Ohio Department of Agriculture Annual Report and Statistics.
The primary use of wheat is to produce food for humans and many different food products are made from different classes of wheat. Let us look at the major classes of wheat grown in the United States.
Wheat produced in Ohio is soft red winter wheat. Soft red winter wheat is seeded in the fall and is used to make cakes, pastries, flat breads, and crackers. Ohio is the leading producer of soft red winter wheat followed by Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Ohio wheat is known for making higher-quality flour than that coming from any other soft red winter wheat-producing state.
Durum wheat, the hardest of all wheat grown in the United States, is seeded in the spring and contains a high amount of protein which is good for pasta products such as macaroni, spaghetti, and other noodles. Durum wheat is grown mainly in North Dakota
Hard red spring wheat contains the highest protein content, making it an excellent bread wheat with superior milling and baking characteristics. Hard red spring wheat is seeded in the spring and is grown mostly in Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota.
Hard red winter wheat is the class of wheat used mostly for bread, rolls, some sweet goods and all-purpose flour. This wheat is fall-seeded and has medium to high protein content. Hard red winter wheat accounts for more than 40% of the United States wheat crop. This wheat is produced in the Great Plains.
Soft white wheat is mainly grown in the northwest areas of the country. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Michigan are leading producers. Soft white wheat is used principally for pastry flours and shredded and puffed breakfast foods.
Hard white wheat is the newest class of wheat to be grown in the United States. Hard white wheat is closely related to red wheat except for the color genes and has a milder, sweeter flavor. Hard white wheat is used in yeast breads, hard rolls, tortillas, and oriental noodles.
As you are driving around the county during harvest, keep in mind the importance of road safety and that farmers are harvesting a crop that is vital part of our food chain.