Wheat production is concentrated in a few countries, even if wheat plant is very robust and can adapt to a quite different environmental conditions. The most suitable environments for its growth are those with temperate climates and with rainfalls between 400 and 900 mm per year, clay soils, well drained, flat or slightly wavy. In areas where rainfall does not exceed 200 mm per year, wheat can be grown with irrigation or with dry farming technique.
Wheat cultivation goes beyond 55 ° latitude in North America and over 65 ° in Europe thanks to the Gulf Stream good influence on the climatic conditions. As for the altitude, wheat grow up to 1,000 meters above sea level in the temperate zones and more than 3,000 meters above sea level in the torrid zones.
This plant easily adapts to very different climatic conditions, that’s why it is the most cultivated cereal in the world. Its demand in international market is very wide. For this reason, wheat is the food product which generates the greatest international movement of goods. Therefore, wheat international market is very important. Wheat world production in 2009 was 681.9 million tons; 138.7 of these were in the European Union alone. Also in 2009 the top five world producers were China (115 mt), India (81 mt), Russia (62 mt), United States of America (60 mt) and France (38 mt). The strongest countries manufacturers in Europe are (in order): France, Germany, UK, Italy, Romania, Spain and Hungary. In America, the major producers are Canada, United States and Argentina.
It also should be noted that, between major producing countries, European Union, USA, Canada, Argentina and Australia production exceeds their internal needs and are able to export this cereal. They hold 77% of world exports. Consequently, when the crops are less abundant because of adverse climate, wheat prices grow considerably.
The volume of grain traded between nations is 244 million tons for year. More than an half is traded by Cargill, multinational center in Minnesota, and about 25-30% by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). So it’s undeniable that USA policies in wheat trade play a very important role in the whole world trade business.