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How is Wheat Grown and Harvested?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon933614 — On Feb 16, 2014

Wheat bread is healthier than white bread.

By anon925093 — On Jan 09, 2014

Is wheat good for you if you eat it raw?

By anon340296 — On Jul 02, 2013

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

By anon313644 — On Jan 13, 2013

Why is wheat brown?

By anon273444 — On Jun 07, 2012

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?

By anon158789 — On Mar 08, 2011

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!

By cmsmith10 — On Aug 23, 2010

@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.

By GrumpyGuppy — On Aug 23, 2010

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

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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