Scenic Driving Tours in Washington
Moses Lake to Ritzville via Rosenoff Road Cool Facts

Some Cool Wheat Facts

  • In 1879, Jared Harris and James Bennett sowed the first wheat in Adams County. Their crop was promptly eaten by marauding squirrels.
  • This is channeled scabland country, a desert which offers a rich light loessal (fertile, wind-deposited) soil, and a yearly average of 12 inches precipitation, suitable for dryland wheat.
  • Only about half of the land of dry-land farms is planted each year. The remaining half is left idle to collect moisture for next year's crop. This practice is called summer fallow rotation.
  • With the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, water was made available for more water-hungry crops such as asparagus, potatoes, and corn. On irrigated farms, the land is planted yearly (annual cropping).
  • Washington's $1 billion plus wheat crop includes most of the nation's soft white wheat, a must ingredient in confectionery products.
  • Two distinct types of soft white wheat are grown: club and common. Club wheats have shorter, more compact heads than common types. The two are often marketed as a mixture called Western White, one of the world's most popular wheat mixes, available only from the Pacific Northwest.
  • Depending on whether you want to see greens or golds, the following indicates the best time to visit wheat country: Most wheat grown in Washington is winter wheat, which is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. A faster-maturing wheat can be planted in the early spring and harvested the same summer.
  • Wheat is Washington's third largest farm product, following apples and milk.
  • Washington is the fifth largest grower of wheat in the U.S. Due to a combination of favorable climate, rich soils, and progressive growers, each of Washington's wheat-acres produces far more bushels than any acre in other wheat-growing states.
  • Up to 90% of the wheat grown in Washington goes overseas to countries such as Japan and Pakistan.
  • For more fascinating wheat facts, see the Washington Wheat Facts pamphlet, by the Washington Wheat Commission on the RedFish BlueFish web site.

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