Winter wheat is a cool-season crop that is planted in the fall or early winter and is harvested in the summer of the following year. Winter wheat is considered to be one of the world’s most important food crops.
The United States leads the world in winter wheat production, followed by China and Russia. Wheat is harvested at different times for different markets, including durum wheat for pasta, bread wheat for bread, and hard red winter wheat for grain.
Winter wheat can also be planted as a fodder crop for horses and cattle; it can be planted to stop erosion or to attract deer to pastures for hunting. Let’s look at winter wheat growth and production. We’ll also answer the question, ‘when is winter wheat harvested?’
When is winter wheat harvested?
Wheat is harvested during the summer or fall, depending on the climate where the wheat is grown. As the name suggests, winter wheat is a cool-season crop that grows well throughout the winter months. It’s harvested when the plant reaches maturity, when stalks are still green, and before seeds mature and drop onto the ground.
Before harvesting, growers need to confirm that all potential threats have passed, including weeds which means ensuring that herbicide application timing was on time and effective and disease pressures have come down enough to allow harvesting.
The harvesting process
Winter wheat is usually harvested with a combine harvester. This is a machine that cuts a narrow strip or swath through a field of wheat, threshes the grain from the stalks, and discharges it into a wagon pulled by a tractor or truck.
After wheat has been harvested, it must be dried to bring the moisture content down to around 14% so that storage is possible. If too much moisture remains in the wheat, it can lead to mildew or fire. The simplest way to dry wheat is in an aerated static pile or heap, where the grain is left in a sheltered spot for about a week. Modern large-scale farmers typically use a grain dryer to dry their wheat.
During this process, grain is dried, warmed, and cooled until it has the desired moisture content for storage. Some farmers use propane heaters to warm the wheat during drying, while others simply leave the doors of their storage bins open to allow natural warming from sunlight and air. Once the wheat has been processed, it can be sold and is used to make pasta or flour or for animal feed.
Winter Wheat is planted in the fall and grows throughout the winter and spring. It has many uses and is a food crop, a fodder crop for animals, and can also be used to stop erosion. By the following summer or early fall, the wheat will be ready to harvest. Harvesting is done using a combine harvester, and the grains have a wide variety of uses. It can be used to produce flour, pasta, and many other food products.