Our Chatham-Kent farmers have been busy harvesting their winter wheat crop.
Over the past six years, Chatham-Kent producers have planted on average about 80,000 acres of winter wheat every year. This year, the wheat crop suffered a fair amount of loss due to the severe winter.
The vast majority of wheat grown in Ontario is winter wheat, which means it is planted in the fall and goes through the winter and then is harvested in July.
The wheat our farmers harvest is delivered to country elevators and/or shipped directly to millers. Ontario’s wheat is also exported around the world.
Incoming wheat at the milling processing facility is weighed, sampled, analyzed, passed through a cleaner and magnet, and then stored according to class, grade, and protein content.
Milling is essentially a process of grinding and separating. Grinding is done on break rolls, sizing rolls, and reduction rolls to reduce the endosperm into flour. Separation of the different sized flour particles is done using machines called sifters and purifiers.
Different flour separations are combined to produce many different types of flour, including household flour, bakers’ flour, and noodle flour. Flour can be produced either by blending wheats at the milling stage, or by milling wheats separately and blending the resulting flours to meet customer specifications.
In some mills, flour is bleached immediately after it is milled. Flour may also be enriched to put back vitamins and minerals removed in the refining process. The flour is now ready to be packaged and sent to the bakery, store, or warehouse.
The kernel of wheat is a storehouse of nutrients that requires careful processing to separate it into its component parts. Most of the endosperm is recovered as flour.
A kernel is a wheat seed. There are about 50 kernels in a head of wheat and 15,000 to 17,000 kernels per pound.
Both whole wheat flour and all-purpose (white) flour are made from kernels of wheat. A wheat kernel is divided into three major parts—bran, endosperm and germ. All purpose flour is made from only ground endosperm. Whole wheat flour is made by grinding the entire wheat kernel.
Besides being a high-carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals and vitamins. Wheat is an efficient source of protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine.
Wheat is the major ingredient in most breads, rolls, crackers, cookies, biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, noodles, piecrusts, ice cream cones, macaroni, spaghetti, puddings, pizza, and many prepared hot and cold breakfast foods.
Much of the wheat used for livestock and poultry feed is a by-product of the flour milling industry.
Wheat straw is used for livestock bedding. The green forage may be grazed by livestock or used as hay or silage.
You also may be surprised to see this list of non-food products which contain wheat. They include: wallboard, cosmetics, pet foods, newsprint, paperboard and other paper products, soap, trash bags, concrete, paste, alcohol, oil, gluten, and hundreds of other items.
So the next time you are having a sandwich or baking some cookies, remember our Chatham-Kent farmers who have and will continue to bring us high-quality food products.
Think about this – In the desert of grief, Jesus can provide an oasis of hope.
Just some food for thought.
Here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’. Check out our website at www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org