Largest Wheat Producing State, A Comprehensive Guide

Largest Wheat Producing State

10 Largest Wheat Producing States in the US: A Comprehensive Guide

Wheat is one of the most important crops in the world, providing food for billions of people and animal feed for livestock. The United States is the third-largest wheat producer in the world, after China and India, and accounts for about 8% of the global wheat production. But which states produce the most wheat in the US? In this article, we will rank the top 10 largest wheat producing states in the US, based on the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). We will also discuss some of the factors that affect wheat production, such as climate, soil, irrigation, pests, diseases, and varieties.

The Top 10 Largest Wheat Producing States in the US

According to the USDA, the total wheat production in the US in 2020 was 1.826 billion bushels, which is equivalent to about 49.6 million metric tons. This was a slight decrease from 2019, when the US produced 1.932 billion bushels of wheat. The following table shows the top 10 largest wheat producing states in the US in 2020, along with their share of the national production and their average yield per acre.

RankStateProduction (million bushels)Share of US production (%)Yield (bushels per acre)
2North Dakota255.214.046
9South Dakota784.347

As we can see from the table, Kansas is the largest wheat producing state in the US, followed by North Dakota and Washington. These three states alone account for more than a third of the US wheat production. Idaho has the highest yield per acre among the top 10 states, while Texas has the lowest.

Factors Affecting Wheat Production

Wheat production depends on many factors, such as climate, soil, irrigation, pests, diseases, and varieties. Let’s take a look at some of these factors and how they affect wheat production in different states.


Wheat is a cool-season crop that grows best in temperate regions with moderate rainfall and low humidity. Wheat can tolerate frost and drought to some extent, but not extreme heat or waterlogging. The optimal temperature range for wheat growth is between 50°F and 75°F (10°C and
24°C). Wheat can be planted in fall or spring, depending on the region and variety. Fall-planted wheat (also known as winter wheat) requires a period of cold exposure (vernalization) to induce flowering and grain formation. Spring-planted wheat (also known as spring wheat) does not need vernalization and can be planted as soon as the soil is workable.


Wheat can grow on a wide range of soils, but prefers well-drained, fertile, loamy soils with a pH between
6 and 7. Wheat does not tolerate acidic or saline soils and requires adequate levels of nitrogen, phosphorus,
potassium, and micronutrients for optimal growth and yield.


Wheat can be grown under rainfed or irrigated conditions, depending on the availability of water and
the potential yield. Irrigation can increase wheat yield by providing supplemental water during critical growth stages, such as tillering, flowering, and grain filling. However, irrigation also increases the risk of diseases and pests, such as rusts, fusarium head blight, aphids, and hessian fly.


Wheat is susceptible to various pests that can reduce yield and quality by feeding on leaves, stems,
roots, or grains. Some of the major pests of wheat include aphids, armyworms, cutworms, grasshoppers,
hessian fly, wireworms, cereal leaf beetle, wheat stem sawfly, and wheat midge.


Wheat is also prone to various diseases that can cause leaf spots, blights, rusts, smuts, bunts, scabs,
and root rots. Some of the major diseases of wheat include stripe rust, leaf rust, stem rust, fusarium head blight,
powdery mildew, septoria leaf blotch, tan spot, barley yellow dwarf virus, and wheat streak mosaic virus.


Wheat is classified into six major classes based on the hardness, color, and shape of the kernels and
the end-use quality. These classes are hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, soft white, hard white,
and durum. Each class has different characteristics and preferences for different regions and markets. For
example, hard red winter wheat is mainly grown in the Great Plains and is used for bread and all-purpose flour.
Soft white wheat is mainly grown in the Pacific Northwest and is used for pastry and cake flour. Durum wheat is
mainly grown in North Dakota and Montana and is used for pasta and semolina.

Wheat Production in the US: Trends and Challenges

Wheat is one of the most important crops in the United States, ranking fourth in production volume after corn, soybeans and hay. Wheat is grown in almost every state, but the type and quantity vary by region. The US is also the world’s largest exporter of wheat, supplying about 50% of its total production to other countries.

The Largest Wheat Producing States

According to the latest statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the top 10 wheat producing states in 2022 are:

  • North Dakota: 299.9 million bushels
  • Kansas: 244.2 million bushels
  • Washington: 144 million bushels
  • Montana: 139.3 million bushels
  • Idaho: 93.5 million bushels
  • Minnesota: 73.8 million bushels
  • Oklahoma: 68.6 million bushels
  • Illinois: 44.2 million bushels
  • Texas: 39 million bushels
  • Colorado: 35.8 million bushels

These states account for about 80% of the total wheat production in the US. The main types of wheat grown in these states are hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, white and durum wheat. Each type has a different end-use and quality characteristics.

The Global Demand for Wheat

Wheat is a staple food for many people around the world, especially in developing countries. The global demand for wheat is expected to increase by 1.4% annually until 2030, reaching 840 million tons, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The main drivers of this growth are population growth, income growth, urbanization and dietary changes.

The US is well-positioned to meet this growing demand, as it has a competitive advantage in terms of productivity, quality and reliability. The US wheat exports are projected to increase by 2% annually until 2030, reaching 35 million tons, according to the USDA. The main markets for US wheat are Mexico, Japan, Philippines, Nigeria and Indonesia.

The Challenges Facing Wheat Producers

Despite the positive outlook for wheat production and trade, there are also some challenges facing wheat producers in the US. Some of these challenges are:

Climate change

Extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, heat waves and frost can affect wheat yields and quality. Climate change can also alter the distribution and severity of pests and diseases that affect wheat crops.


The US faces increasing competition from other major wheat exporters such as Russia, Canada, Australia and Argentina. These countries have lower production costs and can offer lower prices to buyers. They also have access to growing markets in Asia and Africa.

Consumer preferences

Consumers in developed countries are becoming more health-conscious and demanding more diverse and nutritious food products. This can reduce the demand for wheat-based products such as bread, pasta and pastries. Consumers are also looking for more sustainable and environmentally friendly food production practices.


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