The production, distribution, and processing of grain and oilseeds by U.S. firms represent a multi-billion-dollar industry. This chapter focuses on the most important of these crops: wheat, corn, and soybeans. We will also touch on lesser crops, such as barley, sorghum grain, oats, flaxseed, rye—but only briefly. It should be noted, however, that many of the major grain companies also trade in these lesser crops.


Wheat is divided into five classes: hard winter wheat, soft red winter wheat, hard spring wheat, durum, and white wheat.

  1. Hard winter wheat. Represents the largest wheat class and is grown in the Plains states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas. Kansas is by far the largest grower. This class of wheat has high protein content and is primarily used for bread and quality baking flour. It is de-liverable on the Kansas City Board of Trade.
  2. Soft red winter wheat. A lower protein wheat, which is grown in the central and southern states. It is the second-largest wheat class in terms of production. It is primarily used in cookie and cake manufacturing. This class of wheat is deliverable on the Chicago Board of Trade.
  3. White wheat. Similar to soft red winter wheat in protein and usage. Grown in the Northwest and exported primarily out of the Pacific Coast.
  4. Hard spring wheat. The highest protein wheat produced. Used in qual-ity breads. Produced in the north central states: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. This grade is deliverable ...

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