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Ex-U.S.S.R. In the areas covered by former U.S.S.R. wheat crops constitute some 50% of all the grain production. Wheat crops are divided into spring and winter crops.
The main areas sown with spring wheat are in Kazakhstan, western Siberia, the Urals and along the Volga. In many parts of these economic areas, more spring wheat is grown than any other crop. Of special importance among spring wheats are grades of durum wheat, which are distinguished for their large protein content and high baking and other qualities.
Winter wheat, on the other hand is cultivated in Ukraine, the north Caucuses and the central Chernozem area. These areas produce about 70% of the region's winter wheat.
U.S.A. The wheat farming in the United States of America is carried on almost over all the states and the extensive method of cultivation is quite conspicuous. But the variation in temperature and rainfall conditions have led to the development of the four distinct regions specializing in specific varieties of wheat (a) White wheat of the Colombian plateau; (b) Hard red spring wheat of the northern provinces; (c) Hard red winter wheat of the western and southern province; (d) Soft red winters wheat of the southern states.
(a) The Colombian plateau grows both winter and spring white wheat. The rich, loess soils of the Colombian plateau are among the finest in the world for the cultivation of wheat, which is mainly developed on the windward slopes with the help of large machines.
(b) The hard red spring wheat region of the U.S.A. embraces North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota. The spring wheat belt, which is the extension of the Canadian Prairie, is by far the most important in the United States. Farming in the spring wheat region is closely related to seasonal conditions, and is highly mechanized. Durum variety, which is mainly used in the manufacture of macaroni and spaghetti, is also grown. The great lakes provide excellent cheap transportation for this product to the eastern region.
(c) The hard red winter wheat includes northeastern part of Arizona, practically the whole of New Mexico, greater part of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma and southern portion of Nebraska. The northern part of the region resembles the spring wheat belt in physical and economic conditions as well as the methods adopted for farming. The growing season increase in length towards the south.
(d) The soft red winter wheat is grown in a large number of southeastern states, which primarily comprise Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama. Owing to greater humidity wheat is soft and is grown in winter since the summer temperatures are too high to permit wheat cultivation. This type of wheat is mainly use for manufacturing biscuits, pastries etc.
China. The wheat farming regions of China is less specialized than those of Russia and U.S.A. This is mainly because of the fact of more intensive utilization of land.
The spring wheat region of China marks the zone of contention between the pastoral and arable farming. The wheat belt is characterized by extremes of temperature. with a growing period of 6 month, a low rainfall of 37 cm or less which add to the hostility of environment conditions.
The winter wheat/millet region lies to the southeast of he spring wheat region. The whole area is a deeply dissected plateau, but its old topography is covered with layer of loess about 75 meters thick, which provides the foundation of wheat farming.
The winter wheat Kaoliang region embraces the whole of the North China plain. Enriched by the air borne loess, this region is densely populated. Communal ownership of the land has increased the size of the holding, which subsequently has made mechanization and semi-mechanization possible. Irrigation is well developed with the widespread construction of high-tension electricity lines. This region is the great wheat granary of China and more than 150 million people living in the area depend upon wheat as their main food.
Australia. Wheat farming in Australia is practiced on extensive method and is found to be concentrated in two widely separated regions (a) the most important region belongs to the semi-arid level plain .of the Murray-Darling river basin; (b) another region belongs to the yea of the Mediterranean climate of the southwestern part. Australia produced about 9 million metric tones of wheat in 1987-88 and her export was 2.5 million metric tones same year. No other country in the world is left with so much vacant land for wheat cultivation.
Argentina. The Argentina's farming is confined to the great wheat crescent with its limit to the west by 40 cm isohyet and to the east by the 100-cm. isohyet. This predominantly wheat region supports corn, flax and also beef cattle. No farms are located more than 644 km from the coast. Wheat farming region is well served by an excellent network of railways. The time of harvesting corresponds to that of European demand.
Argentina share in world production of wheat in 1987-88 was about 8.5 million metric tones. She supplied about 2.8. million tones is 1987-88
Canada. Wheat farming in Canada, though not confined to Prairie provinces, had its birth there, as a modern industry of world importance, following the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway line in the 1880s. At present, wheat farming in Canada is carried on in large farms. Canada cultivates wheat in three regions:
(i) The hard red spring wheat region, including the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, (ii) The hard red spring wheat of the Colombian plateau, (iii) The soft winter wheat of the province of Ontario. The U.K. is the biggest customer of Canada wheat taking more than 60% of Canadian exports of wheat.
Wheat farming in Europe. Excluding Russia, Europe as a whole represents about 26% of the world wheat output. Though highly mechanized, wheat farming in the densely populated countries of Europe is naturally intensive in character. France alone accounts for nearly 21% of the production, followed by Italy (12%), Poland (6%), U.K (6%), Yugoslavia (6%) and Germany (18%). Other important countries are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Spain which together produce 23% of the European total.
Wheat farming in India. Wheat, representing nearly 18% of the cereal acreage in India comes second only to rice. As regards production, U.P. traditionally holds the leadership, and is followed by Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Bihar, comprising the major wheat producing areas of India.
Because of high temperature conditions wheat in India takes 4 to 6 months to ripen against nine to ten months in the temperate regions. In the south the growing period is shorter than in the north because of nearness to the equator. Hence, the harvesting may begin at the end of December in the south, while in the north, crops are usually harvested at the end of April.
The production of wheat in India amounted to 46.1 million tones in 1987-88 World Trade in wheat. Wheat exporting countries may be arranged in order of their relative importance as exporters.
Combinedly these four countries supply more than 77% of world total wheat exports. Europe is the important importer of wheat taking about 48% of total wheat put in the world market. Great Britain takes more than 30% of wheat put for sale in world economy. Japan, Germany, Belgium, France. Holland, Italy and India are other importers of wheat.
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