|Wheat harvest on the Palouse in Idaho|
There is a term in the wine grape industry called “terrior” which celebrates the fact that fruit quality for wine making is greatly influenced by cultivar, climate and soil type. Year-to-year differences in weather further influence the quality of specific “vintages.” Wheat may be a humbler crop, but it is like wine in the sense that there are different classes of wheat for different end-use products and there are different regions where each type excels based on climate (wheat can be hard or soft, spring or winter, red or white, and there is a separate type called “durum” for pasta). There are even year-to-year differences in quality. For instance, to make an artisan bread, it is best to use flour from hard red spring wheat, that comes from the northern plains (North Dakota, Minnesota) or from the prairie provinces of Canada (e.g. Alberta and Saskatchewan). For Asian noodles one wants a soft white winter wheat from the Pacific Northwest. For crackers a soft red winter wheat is best from a place like Southern Illinois or Kentucky. For pasta, a distinct type of wheat called durum is used and this is grown in Arizona and in the northern plains.
|The green part of each par shows the proportion of the increased production achieved through higher yield rather than additional planting area|