Why Are California Growers Choosing Wheat?

It may not be the first crop that comes to mind when you think of California’s agriculture, but it is an important part of California economics. It is a valuable crop planted as a rotational crop to help manage disease and improve soil conditions.

Our Weather
The sunshine paired with a warm and dry environment produces grain with low moisture content, consistent kernel size distribution, high test weight and big plump kernels. Many common crop diseases in other areas of the U.S. or countries with wetter climates is lower or absent in California's main wheat-growing regions .
Rotational Crop
Wheat is grown to improve soil structure and soil physical properties. Also, to suppress weeds, diseases and other pests of crops that are to follow wheat in the crop rotation system being used.
Grain to Bread
Most of California's wheat production is localized in specific regions with key grain handlers assisting with the process of harvesting, cleaning, and storing wheat. This way we are able to identify the region and wheat varieties required to satisfy the supplier's needs, in turn, meeting the growing demand for traceability.
Food Safety
Agricultural regulations in California are among the strictest in the world and promise to deliver safe food products grown under environmentally friendly practices.
Agricultural History
Wheat was the major crop planted in the 19th century. By the 1950's, the state's wheat output exceeded local consumption. While in recent years wheat production has declined, wheat continues to be an important rotational crop for many growers in California.
Wheat + Irrigation
About 85% of our wheat can be produced under irrigation. Among the major benefits of wheat grown under irrigation are high (and more consistent) grain yield, test weight and kernel size/plumpness (mainly due to avoiding drought stress).

Learn About California Wheat Classes

Hard red winter wheat is an important, versatile bread wheat with excellent milling and baking characteristics. It has medium to high protein (10.0 to 14.0 percent), hard endosperm, red bran, and strong and mellow gluten content. It is used in Artisan and pan breads, Asian noodles, hard rolls, flat breads, and general purpose flour.
Hard white wheat has a hard endosperm, white bran, and a medium to high protein content (10.0 to 14.0 percent). It is used in instant/ramen noodles, whole wheat or high extraction flour applications, Artisan and pan breads, and flat breads.
Soft white wheat has low protein (8.5 to 10.5 percent) and low moisture, and provides excellent milling results. It is used in flat breads, cakes, biscuits, pastries,  crackers, Udon-style noodles, and snack foods.
Durum wheat is the hardest of all wheat classes with a high protein content (12.0 to 15.0 percent), yellow endosperm, and white bran. It is used in pasta, couscous, and some Mediterranean breads.

Desert Durum®

Desert Durum ® is a registered trademark and a registered certification mark. This mark is owned by the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council, and the California Wheat Commission.
When used in commerce, Desert Durum® is intended to certify that grain that is at least 90% produced under irrigation in the desert valleys and lowland of Arizona or California. The annual Desert Durum® crop usually becomes available for shipping or purchase in the month of June.
Desert Durum® is generally available to domestic and export markets as “identity preserved” grain by specific variety. This allows customers to acquire grain that possesses the quality traits that meet their specific needs. The identity preserved, traceable system allows customers to contract varieties and volumes with grain merchandisers who sell certified seed to experienced growers who maintain varietal identity throughout the planting, growing, harvesting, and delivery processes. Grain merchandisers then store the grain by variety and may ship on the customers’ preferred schedules.
For more information about our mark and permission to use it, click below:

Growing Regions

There are hundreds of varieties of wheat produced in the United States, all of which fall into one of six recognized classes: Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Hard White, Soft White, Durum, and Soft Red Winter. California grows all of the U.S. wheat classes except Soft Red Winter.

Wheat has two distinct growing seasons. Winter wheat is sown in the fall or winter and harvested in the spring or summer; spring wheat is planted in the spring and harvested in late summer or early fall.  Most varieties grown in California are genetically spring wheat varieties, i.e. do not require vernalization. However, since the majority of California wheat-growing regions have very mild winter temperatures, spring wheat can be sown in the fall or early winter. Market classifications typically refer to the season of production, not growth habit, which is why California’s red wheat production is referred to as Hard Red Winter wheat.

Wheat classes are determined not only by the time of year they are planted and harvested, but also by their hardness, color and the shape of their kernels. Each class of wheat has similar family characteristics, especially as related to milling and baking or other food use.