Although useful as a livestock feed, wheat is used mainly as a human food. It is nutritious, con centrated, easily stored and transported, and easily processed into various types of food.
Soft Wheat supplies about 20 percent of the food calories for the world’s people and is a national staple in many countries. In easten Europe and Russia, over 30 percent of the calories consumed come from wheat. The per capita consumption of soft wheat in the United States exceeds that of any other single food staple. Besides being a high carbohydrate food, soft wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita mins. Soft Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.
Common foods produced from soft wheat are macaroni, spaghetti, and similar products.
Soft wheat is grown principally in the eastern states. Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Arkansas lead in production of these soft wheats. Soft wheats are softer in texture and lower in protein than hard wheats. Wheats of this class are generally used in the manufacture of cakes, biscuits, pastry, and other types of flours.
Soft white wheats are soft wheats grown mainly in the northwest areas of the country. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Michigan are leading producers. Soft white wheats are used principally for pastry flours and shredded and puffed breakfast foods.
Soft wheat is the major ingredient in most breads, rolls, crackers, cookies, biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, noodles, pie crusts, ice cream cones, macaroni, spaghetti, pud dings, pizza, and many prepared hot and cold breakfast foods. It is also used in baby foods, and is a common thickener in soups, gravies, and sauces. Germ, bran, and malt are additional types of wheat products.
Much of the soft wheat used for livestock and poultry feed is a by‑ product of the flour milling industry. Wheat straw is used for livestock bedding. The green forage may be grazed by livestock or used as hay or silage. In many areas of the southern Great Plains, wheat serves a dual purpose by being grazed in the fall and early spring and then harvested as a grain crop. Industrial uses of wheat grain include starch for paste, alcohol, oil, and gluten. The straw may be used for newsprint, paperboard, and other products.