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.
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.