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Commodity Investing: Maximizing Returns through Fundamental Analysis by SARAH MULHOLLAND, JESS GASPAR, JOHN ECKSTEIN, ADAM DUNSBY

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CHAPTER 9

Wheat

Wheat is the staple food of mankind. It is a cereal grain and globally the most important grain for human consumption. Cereal grains are grasses cultivated for their grains or seeds, and they provide more food energy to humans than any other crop. Other cereal grains include corn, rice, barley, oats, and rye. The calories that have fed the population boom of the world have largely come from these grains. Wheat is the first known cereal grain to be domesticated. Its origins go back as early as 6500 B.C. to Mesopotamia. From there wheat cultivation spread to the rest of the world. Currently wheat is grown on all continents except Antarctica and in more than 80 countries.1

Wheat is grouped into two categories based on its growing season: winter wheat and spring wheat. Winter wheat is planted in the fall and becomes established before a period of dormancy during the winter. When spring comes, the winter wheat resumes its growth until an early summertime harvest. In areas where the winter is harsh, spring wheat is planted during the spring. It then is harvested in the late summer or early fall. In the United States the wheat industry classifies the many varieties of wheat according to six classes. These classes are defined by the wheat's growing season and percent of protein. The winter wheat classes are hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW). Spring wheat classes are hard red spring (HRS), durum, hard white, and soft white. Each wheat class is important as ...

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