Wheat Booth Asks: Do You Know the Six Classes of Wheat?

March 3, 2012 Bookmark and Share

Note: Audio to accompany this story is available at http://www.wheatworld.org/2012classic/.

From Commodity Classic (Nashville, Tenn.) – Can you tell which wheat is which?

That’s the challenge for visitors to the Wheat Industry Booth at the 2012 Commodity Classic, sponsored by the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the Wheat Foods Council (WFC).

Those who stop by the booth at the front of the show will have a chance to enter one of two raffles by taking their best shot at identifying which jar of kernels matches with which wheat class.

Wheat class is generally defined by the hardness and color of the wheat kernel produced as well as the time of year it is planted.

  • Hard red winter, often known as bread wheat, is planted in the fall and harvested in the spring.
  • Hard red spring, which is used to make “designer” wheat foods like rolls, croissants and bagels, is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall.
  • Soft red winter produces a softer wheat, used to make cookies, crackers and pastries.
  • Soft white is a white wheat for cakes, pastries and Asian-style noodles.
  • Hard white, the newest class of U.S. wheat, is used for whole wheat products including pan breads and flat breads.
  • Durum, the hardest of all wheats, is a rich amber color and used for pasta.

Kernels of the six classes are notoriously hard to differentiate, even for many farmers. The trade show game is made harder because contestants must make their guesses by sight alone, with no opportunity to touch or chew the kernels to determine how hard or soft they are.

“We thought this would be a fun way to help educate trade show goers about the diversity of wheat while raising their competitive spirits,” said Melissa George Kessler, NAWG’s director of communications. “We are excited to be here at Classic again, educating attendees about the unique value of wheat to our nation’s economy and food supply.”

“Many, if not most, farmers attending Classic grow some wheat, even if the crop isn’t on the majority of their acres,” said Wayne Hurst, NAWG president and a wheat farmer from Burley, Idaho. “We are excited to tell them about the possibilities available to those who grow and market wheat.”

In addition to the “guess the classes” game, visitors to the wheat booth can enter a separate raffle by rolling one of a pair of supersized dice and correctly answering a wheat-related trivia question.

The 2012 Commodity Classic booth is also hosting three media availabilities – with wheat leaders from NAWG and USW, on wheat research and biotechnology, and on the work of the Field to Market coalition.

Follow the action at the 2012 Classic in real time by following @wheatworld and @uswheatassoc on Twitter.

More about wheat activities at the 2012 Classic is at http://www.wheatworld.org/2012classic/.

More about the six classes is available in this downloadable primer.