Hard wheat holds a distinct position in the world of agriculture and food production. Unlike soft wheat, which is commonly used for bread and pastries, durum wheat is primarily cultivated for making pasta and semolina flour. Its exceptional properties, including high protein content and gluten strength, make it the preferred choice for pasta production, contributing to the quality and texture of pasta products.
Hard wheat cultivation requires specific environmental conditions, typically found in regions with hot and dry climates. Major wheat-producing countries include the United States, Canada, Russia, and certain countries in North Africa, such as Morocco and Algeria. These regions offer the necessary combination of warm temperatures and limited moisture, which are crucial for the optimal development of the crop.
One of the unique challenges in hard wheat cultivation is the requirement for hot and dry conditions during the ripening phase. This phase is critical for ensuring a high protein content in the wheat grains, which is vital for the quality of pasta and semolina products. If the weather becomes too humid or wet during this crucial period, it can negatively impact the protein levels and grain quality of durum wheat, potentially leading to lower market value. Water scarcity and temperature fluctuations also pose significant risks to hard wheat yields. As a drought-tolerant crop, durum wheat relies on efficient water usage and the ability to withstand dry spells. However, prolonged water shortages or extreme heat can diminish yields, leading to reduced supply and impacting market prices.