Wheat is a cereal grain, scientifically known as ‘Triticum aestivum’ produced by certain grassy plants that belong to the family ‘Poaceae’.
Wheat is one of the largest produced grains in the world and it is consumed as a staple food throughout the world. Wheat is also considered as the cereal with the largest monetary yield. There are many varieties of wheat grown worldwide, but common wheat or bread wheat is the variety that contributes up to 95% of the total wheat production in the world.
Wheat is consumed mostly in the form of tortillas or chapatis and baked breads made with its flour. It is also used to make pasta, noodles, cakes, biscuits, pastries, certain bakery products, etc and as fodder for the cattle.
As per the archaeological reports, wheat was first cultivated in the mountain regions in Turkey about 12,000 years ago, and so it is believed that the grain has originated from the Southwest regions of Asia.
However, an exact time as to when the grain was first used cannot be determined as there are findings of the grain and its cultivation which date back to as far back as 23,000 years ago. And as per the present reports, wheat is one of the unavoidable cereal grains in the world besides rice and corn.
Wheat is one of the grains that are easier to grow than most of the other grains like rice. The plants prefer soils that have a clay loam or loam texture with moderate water holding capacity and warm temperature with sufficient sunshine.
Wheat is a rabi or winter crop- the crop that is grown in the winter season from October to March-and the plants normally take 7-8 months to yield and be ready for harvest which can be done from February to May.
The wheat grains are light yellow in colour and oval in shape and they grow up to 2.5 mm to 3 mm in size. The grains contain manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, carbohydrates and B vitamins which make the same a healthy nutritious staple food worldwide.
The largest producer of wheat in the world is China, followed by India, Russia, United States, and Canada. The top exporter is Russia, and Canada, United States, France and Australia are the other main exporters. Egypt is the largest importer of wheat and countries like Turkey, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh and Iran are the other countries that import wheat for consumption and manufacturing purposes.
In India, Uttar Pradesh produces the largest amount of wheat followed by Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
Some of the main trading markets of wheat in India:
Names of wheat in different Indian languages:
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