Australian wheat

Australia produces large amounts of wheat and sells some of it to other countries. © Getty Images

Australia produces large amounts of wheat and sells some of it to other countries. © Getty Images

  • Wheat is the largest grain crop in Australia.

  • Most wheat varieties grown in Australia are sown in autumn and harvested in summer.

  • Australia is one of the top ten wheat producer in the world.

  • About 16 million tones is produced in most years. The annual value of the crop is about $ 2 billion. Most of Australia's wheat is produced in New South Wales and in Western Australia.

  • Australian wheat is exported to many countries including Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Korea and Japan.

  • In Australia the wheat is used to make flour, as stock feed, and as seed for the next year's crop.

How wheat is grown

Wheat is grown from seeds. After ploughing the paddocks to break up the soil, the farmer uses a tractor to pull a machine called a drill that plants the seeds into long ditches. Fertiliser, (food for plants) can be added by the machine to make the wheat plants grow strong.

A combine harvester cuts down the plants and separates the grain from the rest of the plant. The straw or hay is used to feed farm animals.  

A combine harvester cuts down the plants and separates the grain from the rest of the plant. The straw or hay is used to feed farm animals.

 

As the plants grow, a head of seeds forms at the top of the plant. It hardens and ripens.

When it is ready, dry and fully ripened, the farmer uses a combine harvesting machine to collect the ripe grain.


The harvester pours the grain into trucks.

A combine harvester unloads grain into a tractor trailer © iStock/Getty Images

A combine harvester unloads grain into a tractor trailer © iStock/Getty Images

The combine harvester is driven through the paddocks where it cuts the wheat, cleans and separates the seeds or kernels from the rest of the plant.

The ripened wheat is stored in silos until is is sold.

The dry plant, or hay, that is left behind is used to feed farm animals.

Silos are storage places for wheat until it is sold. © Getty Images

Silos are storage places for wheat until it is sold. © Getty Images

A new crop of wheat is planted each year.

 

History of wheat

It is thought that wheat was first grown about 12 000 years ago in the Middle East, in countries we now call Syria and Iraq.

 

About 6 700 BC prehistoric people ground grains of wheat to make flour.

The ancient Egyptians added yeast to flour to make their bread rise. They were the first to have bread ovens.

Windmills were used to grind flour in Syria, England and France about nearly 900 years ago

An early wheat harvester © iStock/Getty Images  

An early wheat harvester © iStock/Getty Images

 

Before there were machines, wheat was planted and harvested by hand.

Mechanical farm machinery was invented from about the 1700s.

 

Harvesting wheat by hand. iStock/Getty Images

Harvesting wheat by hand. iStock/Getty Images

Top Wheat Producing
 Countries

China   
India
USA   
Former USSR   
France   
Canada   
Australia   
Germany
Pakistan  
Turkey   

 

Wheat for good health

Grains of wheat are crushed to make flour © iStock/ Getty images

Grains of wheat are crushed to make flour © iStock/ Getty images

© iStock

© iStock

Wheat contains essential vitamins and minerals such as:

  • B-vitamins for the digestive system and to help the body use energy properly.
  • Calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Wheat grains are crushed to make flour which is then used to make bread and pasta.
  • Starch from wheat is used in the making of paper and plastic bags and in the production of glue and adhesives.

 


Read about early machinery on wheat farms:

http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~triplett/glossary%20of%20early%20australian%20wheat%20farming%20machinery.htm

Read about farm machinery

http://www.agrotechnomarket.com/2012/02/list-of-farm-machinery-in-agriculture.html

Read kidcyber pages:

 Bread

 Pasta

Watch a video about how wheat is turned into flour.