Wheat is the most important cereal worldwide, constituting on a large scale the main source of calories and protein in the human diet. It is a herbaceous plant that develops 7-8 ribbon-shaped leaves with pointed ends. Its root system is fasciculate and highly developed, being able to have roots up to 1.5m deep if the soil is loose enough. Wheat is a self-pollinating plant. When the stamens come out, they are fertilized by the plant itself.
In Spain, about 1.3 million tons of soft wheat grain and 6.7 million tons of semi-hard / soft wheat grain are produced annually. The total crop area reaches 2 million hectares throughout the country, with 375,000 hectares being allocated to the durum wheat crop and 1.7 million hectares to the semi-hard / soft wheat crop.
In relation to the soil, wheat needs deep and well-drained soils to develop its extensive root system. It needs soils with a high content of organic matter and nitrogen, with an optimal pH of 6 to 7. Although they tolerate a pH that can range from 5 to 8. Wheat has a moderate tolerance to salinity
Wheat prefers cold climates, with optimal growth temperatures of approximately 25ºC. Its minimum growth temperature is 3ºC, and at 30ºC its growth is slowed down by excess heat. During flowering, temperatures above 16ºC are needed. In the case of lower temperatures, the flower may not self-fertilize.
Its water requirements are between 200 and 1,750 mm per year, with an optimum value of 600 mm per year. They will need a higher irrigation during the heading stage.
Depending on the final use of wheat, we can differentiate it into durum wheat (for semolina and pasta) or soft wheat (for bread, feed and confectionery). There are registered in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain more than 150 varieties of soft wheat and 90 varieties of durum wheat. The most representative of soft wheat are Anza, Astral, Babe, Gazul, Sarina and Pinzón. Of durum wheat, the most representative are Antón, Don Pedro, Gallareta, Jabato, Sula and Vitrón, among many others.
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