Types of Wheat Grain
Wheat is one of the most planted and harvested crops in the world. It is the principle ingredient in breads and cereals, and in the United States alone, more than 63 million acres were planted in the 2008-2009 growing season. Wheat is available in winter and spring varieties, and each type requires different care and climate conditions.
Hard Red Winter
Hard red winter wheat is used to produce bread and all-purpose flour. It is principally grown in Montana, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It is the predominant wheat type exported by the U.S. to other countries, which includes Japan, Russia and China. In 2008 and 2009, more than 31 million acres were planted in the U.S.
Hard Red Spring
This variety of hard red wheat contains the largest percentage of protein of all wheat varieties. It is grown mainly in North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana. It is also an excellent wheat for making breads. In the 2008-2009 growing season, more than 13 million acres of this wheat were grown in the U.S.
Soft Red Winter
Soft Red Winter wheat is grown east of the Mississippi River and is a lower yielding variety of wheat. It contains less protein than other varities and is used for making crackers, cakes and pastries. This crop is exported to Egypt, China and Morocco, with more than 11 million acres planted in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009.
Durum is a hard grain wheat and is used less for exports than other wheat types. Eighty percent of its production takes place in North Dakota. Durum wheat is amber in color, high in gluten and is used to make semolina flour for pasta. In 2008 and 2009, 2.7 million acres were grown in the U.S.
White wheat has a sweeter, milder flavor than red varieties. It can be used to make yeast breads, rolls, tortillas, Asian noodles, cookies and cakes. White wheat is grown in the Pacific Northwest, Michigan, New York, Wisconsin and California, producing high yielding crops that are low in protein. The U.S. exports this crop to Far East Asia and produced more than four million acres in the 2008 and 2009 growing season.