See also: Types of Wheat Grown in U.S. Cereal Grains; Breakfast Cereals; Emmer Wheat
Wheat is grown in 42 states in the U.S.
About two-thirds of total U.S. wheat production comes from the Great Plains (from Texas to Montana).
Of the wheat consumed in the United States, over 70% is used for food products, about 22% is used for animal feed and residuals, and the remainder is used for seed.
According to the USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture) wheat yields in the U.S. increased from about 26 bushels per acre in 1965 to about 43 bushels per acre in 1998 and in 2008 was about 45 bushels per acre.
Wheat production exceeded Rye production in Germany for the first time in 1957.
It is estimated that it takes 1,200 tons of water to produce a ton of wheat.
In 1830 it took about 275 hours of labor to produce 100 bushels of wheat. With new inventions and machines (mostly animal powered) by 1890 the time had decreased to about 50 hours. As modern machinery took over the time was down to 5 hours in 1965, and today it is about 2 hours.
It takes a modern combine about 9 seconds to harvest enough wheat to make 70 loaves of bread.
Wheat is a member of the grass family that produces a dry one-seeded fruit commonly called a kernel. More than 17,000 years ago, humans gathered the seeds of plants and ate them. After rubbing off the husks, early people simply chewed the kernels raw, parched or simmered. Wheat originated in the “cradle of civilization” in the Tigris and Euphrates river valley, near what is now Iraq. The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today---“cereal.” Wheat Foods Council www.wheatfoods.org
It is believed that wheat has been milled for more than 75,000 years.
The United States produced 2.1 billion bushels of wheat in 2007. Kansas and North Dakota combined accounted for 28% of the nation's wheat production. (USDA)
• Kansas is the largest wheat producer in the United States, with North Dakota second.
• Kansas produced more than 490 million bushels of wheat in 1997. This is enough to make more almost 36 billion loaves of bread.
• Sumner County, Kansas, is known as The Wheat Capital of the World.
World Wheat production for 2005 was 620 million metric tons. U.S. production for 2005 was 57 million metric tons.
Bulgaria's per capita wheat consumption is over 600 pounds, while in the U.S. it is about 190 pounds.
• One bushel of wheat weighs about 60 pounds and contains about 1 million individual wheat kernels.
• One bushel of wheat will make about 42 pounds of white flour or 60 pounds of whole wheat flour.
• One bushel of wheat yields 42 loaves of commercial white bread (1½ pound loaves) or 90 one pound whole wheat loaves.
• One bushel of wheat makes about 42 pounds of pasta.