Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association

Kentucky Wheat Facts

The Scoop on Wheat

The wheat class most widely grown in Kentucky is soft red winter wheat. 

A versatile wheat with excellent milling and baking characteristics, Soft Red Winter is suited for cookies, crackers, pretzels, pastries and flat breads.

cookies crackers.jpg


Wheat is grown through the fall, winter, and spring in Kentucky because it likes cooler temperatures.

Soft Red Winter Wheat is planted in the fall, and Kentucky farmers harvest the wheat kernels in June. They then sell the grain to local flour mills or distilleries. 

Millers will clean and grind the wheat kernels into flour that can be made into grain foods. Siemer Milling, in Hopkinsville, supplies wheat flour for baking mixes and foods sold nation-wide. Wheat is also distilled for whiskey and bourbon recipes. 


The part of the plant that is left behind can be harvested for straw that is used as livestock bedding and landscaping.


Kentucky farmers harvested 23.9 million bushels of winter wheat from 310,000 acres during 2017.

460,000 acres were planted, but freezing temperatures in mid-March damaged a number of those acres. This is the smallest wheat crop since 2010. 

The average yield was 77 bushels per acre. The highest average yield for Kentucky occurred in 2016, at 80 bushels per acre. 

The largest production year occurred in 2013, where Kentucky farmers produced 45.8 million bushels of winter wheat. 

(National Agriculture Statistics Service)


The 2016 Kentucky wheat crop was valued at $144 million

(National Agriculture Statistics Service)


Other Fun Wheat Facts


  • Wheat is native to the Middle East, but is grown on more land than any other grain in the world. It is also the leading source of vegetable protein in human food.
  • Seventy-five percent of US grain foods contain wheat.  
  • Wheat was first planted in North America by the English colonists. 
  • The top wheat producing states are North Dakota, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, and Washington. Half of all U.S. wheat is exported. 
  • Thomas Jefferson was credited with bringing the first "macaroni" machine to America in 1789. Macaroni was a general term used for all pastas.
  • One bushel of wheat weighs about 60 pounds, has 1 million kernels, and will make 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread. 
  • Pre-sliced bread was not sold until 1930.