Wheat is a crucial staple that is cultivated across the world, playing an important role in the diets of billions of people. Wheat is a crucial ingredient in the production of countless food items, including bread and pasta. How many of these fun wheat facts did you know?
- The history of humans cultivating wheat dates back to over 10,000 BC, with archaeological evidence of primitive wheat production: The first records of human wheat cultivation are from what is know part of Iraq.
- Wheat is the number one crop in the world in terms of trade volume: In fact, there is more wheat traded in the world than the total volume of all other crops combined. 2016 production was nearly 750 million tonnes.
- The world’s largest producer of wheat is China, with an annual production volume of approximately 126 million tonnes: Other major players include India (95 million) and Russia (59 million).
- However, in terms of the nations with the highest productivity per hectare of wheat farm, Ireland is the world’s number one with an average of 10 tonnes per hectare: Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand and the UK are also high on the list of most productive producers.
- While wheat is enjoyed by billions every day, there are some people with an allergy to gluten – which makes up the protein component of wheat – who can’t eat it: Gluten intolerance is linked to coeliac disease.
- One of the most common ways that wheat is processed is by grinding it into flour: Other methods of preparing wheat include grinding it into semolina, crushing it into cracked wheat or drying it to create malt.
Fun Wheat Facts:
- Wheat is used in a wide variety of foods – and drinks – including: biscuits, crackers, muesli, pancakes, pies, pastries, cakes, cookies, muffins, rolls, doughnuts, gravy – and even beer and vodka!
- White wheat and red wheat are the two most commonly cultivated types of wheat around the world: However, other more exotic varieties do exist, including yellow, blue and even black wheat.
- Wheat farmers have to be on the lookout for many natural enemies of wheat, including: butterflies, moths, birds and rodents, who all love to feast on wheat as it is growing. Losses from such pests run into the billions of dollars for the industry each year.
- In addition, there are many diseases which can affect wheat production: These include barley yellow dwarf virus, spot blotch, common bunt and sharp eyespot.