Island Grains

What’s the difference between spring wheat and winter wheat?

Wikipedia says:

Winter wheat is a type of wheat that is planted from September to December in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter wheat sprouts before freezing occurs, then becomes dormant until the soil warms in the spring. Winter wheat needs a few weeks of cold before being able to flower; however, persistent snow cover might be disadvantageous. It is ready to be harvested by early July.

Hard winter wheats have a higher gluten protein content than other wheats. They are used to make flour for yeast breads, or are blended with soft spring wheats to make the all-purpose flour used in a wide variety of baked products. Soft wheat is used for specialty or cake flour. Durum, the hardest wheat, is primarily used for making pasta. Almost all durum wheat grown in North America is spring-planted.

In our temperate West Coast climate, many growers are experimenting with planting spring wheat varieties in the winter, to see if they'll survive the rainy/cold season. At Makaria Farm in Duncan we've planted hard white spring wheat in the fall and the spring with great success:

Fall-planted (left) vs. spring-planted (right) hard white spring wheat in March/April 2010 at Makaria Farm in Duncan, BC.

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  1. Thanks for this information, very helpful for my Food Technology A-level coursework!

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