• Bread grain of European civilization
  • Origination: Asia Minor (near east i.e., Syria, Iraq, Turkey), Middle East gradually spreading across Mediterranean and European countries and then taken over to new world through colonization.


  1. Mid-latitude grassland region of temperate zone
  2. Warm temperate
  3. Western margin Mediterranean region
  4. Sub-tropical eastern margin (China type)
  5. Tropical monsoon
  6. Savanna lands
  7. Desert and semi-desert margins with irrigation.
  8. Can also be grown in equatorial uplands where there are cool conditions.


  1. Carbohydrate (70%)
  2. Protein, fat, Sugar 
  3. Traces of Calcium, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Iron
  4. By products of milling such as Bran and “shorts” (Daliya) are valuable dairy feeds



  • Optimum temperature: 15.5 degree C
  • Warm and moist during early stage, dry and sunny during late stage and harvest

Two types of wheat:

  • Spring (Sown in spring and harvested in late summer or autumn)
    • High latitude 
    • Canadian Prairies, Siberia where seeds can be germinated only after frost is over.
  • Winter (Sown in late autumn or early winter and harvested in early summer) 
    • Mid-Latitudes, Sub tropical. 
    • Mediterranean (Rainy winter, warm dry spring)
    • Indo-Gangetic (Western disturbance, irrigation, warm dry spring)
  • 80% wheat is winter wheat.
  • Very sensitive to frost, therefore frost resistant varieties or frost free period required in higher latitudes. This is seldom an issue in lower latitudes.


  • Amount required varies between45-65 cm.
  • Light shower just before the harvest swells the grains and results in good harvest.
  • Excess of moisture can be detrimental to wheat therefore minimum wheat cultivation in tropical areas.
  • It cannot grow in areas of very low rainfall or with prolong drought conditions. Through irrigation and dryland farming practices only.


  • Ideal: Light clay or heavy loam which is relatively stiff and gives the plant a firm support.
  • Best wheat comes from Chernozem soils of Ukrainian steppes, dark brown prairies soils of N. American prairies, grey brown podzolic soils of deciduous forest regions
  • Peaty soils least suitable.


  • Nitrate exhaustive crop hence systematic manuring is required with animal dungs and fertilizers such as sulfates of ammonia, nitrate of soda, potash or lime will help to improve yields.
  • Crop rotation with leguminous crops


  • Open, rolling topography as it provides adequate drainage and facilitates use of machinery.
  • All the mid-latitudes grasslands are undulating and where all the processes are mechanized.
  • Rugged terrains and steep slopes always avoided.
  • Terraced wheat farming rare except few poor regions where flat lands are scarce.


  1. It is grown in the sparsely populated regions of the new world; therefore, enough surplus is generated.
  2. Hence, amount of wheat which enters in international trade is far greater than that of rice.
  3. EU > China > India > US > Russia > France > Canada

Factors which led to rise of Canadian prairies as one of the leading granaries of the world. (Same applies to some wheat growing areas in western US where Prairies extend South of the border)

  • Availability of extensive cheap Land
  • Extension of railways to the prairies.
  • In migration of farmers and excess to world market.
  • Fertile prairie soil (Chernozem, less leached not so acidic)
  • Undulating topography 
  • Well drained 
  • Allows machines. 
  • Suitable climate
  • Temperature and Rainfall match that of required conditions.
  • Chinook winds
  • Access to markets


The virtual water trade (also known as embedded or embodied water) is the hidden flow of water in food or other commodities that are traded from one place to another.
The concept of virtual, or embedded, water was first developed as a way of understanding how water scarce countries could provide food, clothing and other water intensive goods to their inhabitants. The global trade in goods has allowed countries with limited water resources to rely on the water resources in other countries to meet the needs of their inhabitants. As food and other products are traded internationally, their water footprint follows them in the form of virtual water. This allows us to link the water footprint of production to the water footprint of consumption, wherever they occur.

Ashok Gulati, an agriculture economist, views the India’s continuing agriculture export of crops like rice and sugarcane with deep concern. For him, the export of 17.7 million tons of rice and 7.5 million tons of sugar is the same as the export of 50.4 billion cubic meters (rice 35.4, sugar 15 billion cubic meters) of water by the current generation from the legitimate resource share of the future.

Virtual Water Trade (VWT) is slowly altering the global hydrological cycle in many ways and hence A sound VWT-related policy should address a number of salient points:

  • Fix the upper limits of national VWT.
  • List the products and regions that need to be excluded from it
  • Set the benchmark for water footprint for the different products.
  • Specifications on water types to be used
  • Specification on water quality to be used.
  • Water use efficiency norms for different products
  • Wastewater treatment and reuse

A national guideline needs to be designed to help map the volumes of water already lost from the hydrological cycle due to export and ways to offset the loss through improved management strategies:

  • Precision technology to be adopted to trail water use by export farms and industries.
  • Water footprint estimation guidelines to be adopted by the different production systems
  • Regions barred for VWT export (groundwater overexploited zones / water quality concern / coastal seawater intrusion and other vulnerable zones)
  • Approaches to restoring and redistributing the virtual water lost for a positive water balance
  • Design ‘water renewal credit’ like ‘Carbon credit’
  • All export houses shall treat wastewater equivalent to the virtual water exported
  • ‘Water renewal credit’ to be acquired in advance to be eligible for export
  • ‘Water renewal credit’ shall adopt tertiary wastewater treatment technology prescribed by the pollution control board
  • ‘Water renewal credit’ is the first step to revive wastewater into productive use within the hydrologic cycle for irrigation / non-drinking use
  • ‘Water renewal credit’ overtime needs to be extended to bottling water plants, commercial water users, bulk water users involved with entertainment and sports.
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