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A cereal is any
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...
cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its
grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album ...

grain
(botanically, a type of
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
called a
caryopsis Wheat spikelet with the three anthers sticking out, right In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who spec ...
), composed of the
endosperm The endosperm is a tissue produced inside the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's fir ...
, germ, and
bran 300px, Wheat kernel compartments and macronutrients Bran, also known as miller's bran, is the hard outer layers of cereal grain A cereal is any Poaceae, grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type ...

bran
. The term may also refer to the resulting grain itself (specifically "cereal grain"). Cereal grain crops are grown in greater quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop and are therefore
staple crops
staple crops
. Edible grains from other plant families, such as
buckwheat Buckwheat (''Fagopyrum esculentum''), or common buckwheat, is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds and as a cover crop In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture ...

buckwheat
,
quinoa Quinoa (''Chenopodium quinoa''; , from Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the ...

quinoa
and
chia
chia
, are referred to as
pseudocereal A pseudocereal or pseudograin is one of any non-grasses that are used in much the same way as cereal A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an att ...
s. In their natural, unprocessed, ''
whole grain A whole grain is a grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. Th ...

whole grain
'' form, cereals are a rich source of
vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, ...
s,
minerals In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers ...
,
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s,
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided ...

fat
s, oils, and
protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...
. When processed by the removal of the bran, and germ, the remaining endosperm is mostly carbohydrate. In some
developing countries A developing country is a sovereign state with a less developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no ...
, grain in the form of
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
,
wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown is common wheat Common wheat (''Triticum aestivum'' ...

wheat
,
millet Millets () are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in Indi ...

millet
, or
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be ...

maize
constitutes a majority of daily sustenance. In
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
, cereal consumption is moderate and varied but still substantial, primarily in the form of refined and processed grains. The word “cereal” is derived from ''
Ceres Ceres most commonly refers to: * Ceres (dwarf planet) Ceres (; minor-planet designation: 1 Ceres) is the smallest recognized dwarf planet, the closest dwarf planet to the Sun, and the List of notable asteroids, largest object in the main astero ...
'', the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture.


Ancient history

Agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

Agriculture
allowed for the support of an increased population, leading to larger societies and eventually the development of cities. It also created the need for greater organization of political power (and the creation of
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English ...
), as decisions had to be made regarding labor and
harvest Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes * Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the infrastructure of a ...

harvest
allocation and access rights to water and land. Agriculture bred immobility, as populations settled down for long periods of time, which led to the accumulation of material goods. Early
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
villages show evidence of the development of processing grain. The
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
is the ancient home of the ancestors of wheat,
barley Barley (''Hordeum vulgare''), a member of the grass family Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recogn ...

barley
and
pea The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is ...

pea
s, in which many of these villages were based. There is evidence of the cultivation of cereals in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
approximately 9,000 years ago. Wheat, Barley,
Rye Rye (''Secale cereale'') is a grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboo Bamboos are a diverse group of ev ...

Rye
,
Oats The oat (''Avena sativa''), sometimes called the common oat, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A spec ...

Oats
and
Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds
were all domesticated in the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an establishe ...

Fertile Crescent
during the early Neolithic. During the same period, farmers in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
began to farm rice and millet, using human-made floods and fires as part of their cultivation regimen. Fiber crops were domesticated as early as food crops, with China domesticating
hemp Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a botanical class of ''Cannabis sativa ''Cannabis sativa'' is an annual herbaceous flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embry ...
,
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

cotton
being developed independently in Africa and South America, and
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
domesticating flax. The use of
soil amendment A soil conditioner is a product which is added to to improve the , usually its (ability to provide nutrition for plants) and sometimes its . In general usage, the term "soil conditioner" is often thought of as a subset of the category soil amend ...
s, including
manure Manure is organic matter Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of Carbon compounds, carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. It is m ...

manure
, fish,
compost Compost is a mixture of ingredients used to fertilize and improve the soil. It is commonly prepared by decomposing plant and food waste and recycling Recycling is the process of converting waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted ...

compost
and
ashes Ashes may refer to: *ash Ash or ashes are the solid remnants of fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), product ...

ashes
, appears to have begun early, and developed independently in several areas of the world, including
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
, the
Nile Valley The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubi ...

Nile Valley
and Eastern Asia. The first cereal grains were
domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...

domesticated
by early primitive humans. About 8,000 years ago, they were domesticated by ancient farming communities in the Fertile Crescent region.
Emmer wheat Emmer wheat or hulled wheat is a type of awned wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown ...

Emmer wheat
,
einkorn wheat Einkorn wheat (from German ''Einkorn'', literally "single grain") can refer either to the wild species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat tog ...
, and barley were three of the so-called
Neolithic founder crops The founder crops (or primary domesticates) are the eight plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, ...
in the development of agriculture. Around the same time, millets and kinds of rice were starting to become domesticated in East Asia.
Sorghum ''Sorghum'' is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family ( Poaceae). Some of these species are grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, '' Sorghum bicolor'', was originally ...

Sorghum
and millets were also being domesticated in sub-Saharan West Africa.


Cereals and civilization

Cereals were the foundation of
human civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban area, urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbolic systems of communication (such as writing system, writing). Civilizat ...

human civilization
. Cereal frontiers coincided with civilizational frontiers. The term
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an establishe ...

Fertile Crescent
explicitly implies the spatial dependence of civilization on cereals.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China
and the
Roman limes The ''līmes'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
demarcated the same northern limit of the cereal cultivation. The
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
stretched along the cereal belt of
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a ...

Eurasia
. Numerous Chinese imperial edicts stated: “Agriculture is the foundation of this empire,” while the foundation of agriculture were the
Five Grains The Five Grains or Cereals () are a grouping (or set of groupings) of five farmed crops that were all important in History of China#Ancient China, ancient China. Sometimes the crops themselves were regarded as sacred; other times, their cultivati ...
. Cereals determined how large and for how long an army could be mobilized. For this reason,
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was an ancient Chinese philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφο ...
called agriculture and war “the One.”
Guan Zhong Guan Zhong (; c. 720–645 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician. He served as Grand chancellor (China), chancellor and was a reformer of the Qi (state), State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His given name wa ...

Guan Zhong
,
Chanakya Chanakya (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is bas ...

Chanakya
(the author of ''
Arthashastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 ye ...

Arthashastra
'') and
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
expressed similar concepts. At the dawn of history, the Sumerians believed that if agriculture of a state declines,
Inanna Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the ...
, the goddess of war, leaves this state. Several gods of antiquity combined the functions of what Shang Yang called “the One” – agriculture and war: the Hittite
Sun goddess of Arinna The Sun goddess of Arinna, also sometimes identified as Arinniti or as Wuru(n)šemu, is the chief goddess and companion of the weather god Tarḫunna in Hittite mythology. She protected the Hittite kingdom and was called the "Queen of all lands." ...
, the Canaanite
Lahmu Laḫmu ("hairy one") is a class of apotropaic Apotropaic magic (from Greek "to ward off" from "away" and "to turn") is a type of Magic (paranormal), magic intended to turn away harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune or averting ...
and the Roman
Janus In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule ...

Janus
. These were highly important gods in their time leaving their legacy until today. We still begin the year with the month of Janus (January). The Jews believe that Messiah's family will originate in the town of Lahmu (
Bethlehem Bethlehem (; ar, بيت لحم , "House of Meat"; he, בֵּית לֶחֶם ', , "House of Bread"; ; la, Bethleem; initially named after Canaanite fertility god Lehem) is a city in the central West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضف ...

Bethlehem
); in Hebrew, ''beit lehem'' literally means "house of bread". Christians believe that
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Jesus Christ
, who is said to have been born in Bethlehem, is the messiah. Lahmu is the reason why, in Hebrew, ''bread'' (''lehem'') and ''warfare'' (''milhama'') are of the same root. In fact, most persistent and flourishing empires throughout history in both hemispheres were centered in regions fertile for cereals. Historian Max Ostrovsky argues that this historic pattern never changed, not even in the
Industrial Age #REDIRECT Industrial Age The Industrial Age is a period of history that encompasses the changes in economic and social organization that began around 1760 in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the nort ...
. He stresses that all modern great powers have traditionally remained first and foremost great ''cereal'' powers. The “finest hour” of the Axis powers “ended precisely the moment they threw themselves against the two largest cereal lebensraums” (the United States and the USSR). The outcome of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
followed the Soviet grave and long-lasting cereal crisis, exacerbated by the cereal embargo imposed on the USSR in 1980. And, called “the grain basket of the world,” the most productive “cereal lebensraum” dominates the world ever since. Having analyzed the mechanism at work behind this pattern, Ostrovsky outlined that the cereal power determines the percentage of manpower available to non-agricultural sectors including the heavy industry vital for military power. He emphasized that chronologically the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
follows the modern Agricultural Revolution and spatially the world's industrial regions are bound to cereal regions. Taken from space, map of the global illumination is said to indicate by its brightest parts the industrial regions. These regions coincide with cereal regions. Ostrovsky formulized a universal indicator of national power valid for all periods: total cereal tonnage produced by one percent of nation's manpower. For the present, this indicator demonstrates a unipolar international
hierarchy A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarch ...

hierarchy
.


The Green Revolution

During the second half of the 20th century there was a significant increase in the production of high-yield cereal crops worldwide, especially wheat and rice, due to an initiative known as the
Green Revolution The Green Revolution, or the Third Agricultural Revolution, is the set of research technology transfer initiatives occurring between 1950 and the late 1960s, that increased agricultural production worldwide, beginning most markedly in the late ...

Green Revolution
. The strategies developed by the Green Revolution focused on fending off starvation and increasing yield-per-plant, and were very successful in raising overall yields of cereal grains, but did not give sufficient relevance to nutritional quality. These modern high yield-cereal crops tend have low quality proteins, with
essential amino acid An essential amino acid, or indispensable amino acid, is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized from scratch by the organism fast enough to supply its demand, and must therefore come from the diet. Of the 21 amino acids common to all life forms ...
deficiencies, are high in
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s, and lack balanced
essential fatty acid Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acid fatty acids have perfectly straight chain structure. Unsaturated compound, Unsaturated ones are typically bent, unless they have a #Unsaturated fatty acids, trans configuration. In chemistry, parti ...
s,
vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, ...
s,
mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (2 ...

mineral
s and other quality factors. So-called ancient grains and heirloom varieties have seen an increase in popularity with the "organic" movements of the early 21st century, but there is a tradeoff in yield-per-plant, putting pressure on resource-poor areas as food crops are replaced with cash crops.


Cultivation

While each individual species has its own peculiarities, the cultivation of all cereal crops is similar. Most are
annual plant An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle Life cycle, life-cycle, or lifecycle may refer to: Science and academia *Biological life cycle, the sequence of life stages that an organism undergoes from birth to reproduction ending w ...
s; consequently one planting yields one harvest. Wheat, rye,
triticale Triticale (; × ''Triticosecale'') is a hybrid Hybrid may refer to: Economics and finance * Hybrid market, a system allowing stock trades to be completed either electronically or manually * Hybrid security, a type of economic instrument Techno ...

triticale
, oats, barley, and
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the ...

spelt
are the "cool-season" cereals. These are hardy plants that grow well in moderate weather and cease to grow in hot weather (approximately , but this varies by species and variety). The "warm-season" cereals are tender and prefer hot weather. Barley and rye are the hardiest cereals, able to overwinter in the
subarctic The sub-Arctic zone is a region in the Northern Hemisphere immediately south of the true Arctic and covering much of Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, An ...
and
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
. Many cool-season cereals are grown in the tropics. However, some are only grown in cooler highlands, where it ' "may" ' be possible to grow multiple crops per year. For the past few decades, there has also been increasing interest in
perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and incl ...
grain plants. This interest developed due to advantages in
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
control, reduced need for fertiliser, and potential lowered costs to the farmer. Though research is still in early stages,
The Land Institute The Land Institute is a non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, ...
in
Salina, Kansas Salina is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Kansas, Saline County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 United States census, 2020 census, the population of the city was 46,889. It is a regional trade center for North Central K ...
has been able to create a few cultivars that produce a fairly good crop yield.


Planting

The warm-season cereals are grown in tropical lowlands year-round and in temperate climates during the frost-free season. Rice is commonly grown in flooded fields, though some strains are grown on dry land. Other warm climate cereals, such as
sorghum ''Sorghum'' is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family ( Poaceae). Some of these species are grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, '' Sorghum bicolor'', was originally ...

sorghum
, are adapted to arid conditions. Cool-season cereals are well-adapted to temperate climates. Most varieties of a particular species are either winter or spring types. Winter varieties are sown in the autumn, germinate and grow vegetatively, then become dormant during winter. They resume growing in the springtime and mature in late spring or early summer. This cultivation system makes optimal use of water and frees the land for another crop early in the growing season. Winter varieties do not flower until springtime because they require
vernalization Vernalization (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...
: exposure to low temperatures for a genetically determined length of time. Where winters are too warm for vernalization or exceed the hardiness of the crop (which varies by species and variety), farmers grow spring varieties. Spring cereals are planted in early springtime and mature later that same summer, without vernalization. Spring cereals typically require more irrigation and yield less than winter cereals.


Harvesting

Once the cereal plants have grown their seeds, they have completed their
life cycle Life cycle, life-cycle, or lifecycle may refer to: Science and academia *Biological life cycle, the sequence of life stages that an organism undergoes from birth to reproduction ending with the production of the offspring *Life-cycle hypothesis, ...
. The plants die, become brown, and dry. As soon as the parent plants and their seed kernels are reasonably dry, harvest can begin. In developed countries, cereal crops are universally machine-harvested, typically using a
combine harvester The modern combine harvester, or simply combine, is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops. The name derives from its combining four separate harvesting operations—reaping, threshing An animal-powered thre ...

combine harvester
, which cuts, , and the grain during a single pass across the field. In developing countries, a variety of harvesting methods are in use, depending on the cost of labor, from combines to hand tools such as the
scythe A scythe is an agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated Domestica ...

scythe
or
grain cradle A grain cradle or ''cradle'', is a modification to a standard scythe A scythe is an agriculture, agricultural hand tool for mowing grass or Harvest, harvesting Crop, crops. It is historically used to cut down or reaping, reap edible grain, grain ...
. If a crop is harvested during
humid Humidity is the concentration of water vapor, water vapour present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, d ...

humid
weather, the grain may not dry adequately in the field to prevent spoilage during its storage. In this case, the grain is sent to a dehydrating facility, where artificial heat dries it. In North America, farmers commonly deliver their newly harvested grain to a
grain elevator A grain elevator is an agrarian facility complex designed to stockpile or store grain. In the grain trade, the term "grain elevator" also describes a tower containing a bucket elevator or a pneumatic conveyor, which scoops up grain from a lower ...
, a large storage facility that consolidates the crops of many farmers. The farmer may sell the grain at the time of delivery or maintain ownership of a share of grain in the pool for later sale. Storage facilities should be protected from small grain pests,
rodents Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...

rodents
and
birds Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...

birds
.


Production statistics

The following table shows the annual production of cereals in 1961, 1980, 2000, 2010, 2018 and 2019/2020. Maize, wheat, and rice together accounted for 89% of all cereal production worldwide in 2012, and 43% of the global supply of
food energy Food energy is chemical energy Chemical energy is the energy of chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by havin ...
in 2009, while the production of oats and rye have drastically fallen from their 1960s levels. Other cereals not included in
FAO The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency ...

FAO
statistics, include: *
Teff ''Eragrostis tef'', also known as teff, Williams lovegrass or annual bunch grass, is an annual Annual may refer to: *Annual publication, periodical publications appearing regularly once per year **Yearbook **Literary annual *Annual plant *Annual ...
, an ancient grain that is a staple in
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...

Ethiopia
and grown in sub-Saharan Africa as a grass primarily for feeding horses. It is high in fiber and protein. Its flour is often used to make
injera Injera (Amharic: , , ; om, Biddeena; Tigrinya language, Tigrinya: ጣይታ, ''Tai’ta'') is a sourdough, sour Fermentation, fermented flatbread with a slightly spongy texture, traditionally made of teff flour. In Ethiopia, Eritrea, and some p ...

injera
. It can also be eaten as a warm breakfast cereal similar to farina with a chocolate or nutty flavor. Its flour and whole grain products can usually be found in natural foods stores. *
Wild rice Wild rice (Ojibwe language, Ojibwe: ; also called Canada rice, Indian rice, or water oats) is any of four species of Poaceae, grasses that form the genus ''Zizania'', and the grain that can be harvested from them. The grain was historically ga ...
, grown in small amounts in North America. Several other species of wheat have also been domesticated, some very early in the history of agriculture: *
Spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the ...

Spelt
, a close relative of common wheat. *
Einkorn Einkorn wheat (from German ''Einkorn'', literally "single grain") can refer either to the wild species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat tog ...

Einkorn
, a wheat species with a single grain. *
Emmer Emmer wheat or hulled wheat is a type of awned wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grow ...

Emmer
, one of the first crops domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. *
Durum Durum wheat (), also called pasta wheat or macaroni wheat (''Triticum durum'' or ''Triticum turgidum'' subsp. ''durum''), is a species of . It is the second most cultivated species of wheat after , although it represents only 5% to 8% of global ...
, the only
tetraploid Polyploidy is a condition in which the cells of an organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecul ...
species of wheat currently cultivated, used to make
semolina Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlingsWheat middlings (also known as millfeed, wheat mill run, or wheat midds) are the product of the wheat milling process that is not flour. A good source of protein Proteins are large biomolecule ...
flour. *
Kamut Khorasan wheat or Oriental wheat (''Triticum turgidum'' ssp. ''turanicum'' also called ''Triticum turanicum''), commercially known as Kamut, is a tetraploid Polyploidy is a condition in which the cell Cell most often refers to: * Cell (bio ...

Kamut
, an ancient relative of durum with an unknown history. In 2013 global cereal production was a then record 2,521 million tonnes. The FAO 2019/2020 global cereal production estimate released in December 2020 is 2,706 million tonnes and the forecast for the 2020/2021 season was 2.741 million tonnes.


Cereal exporters

The FAO reports the major wheat exporters are
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, the ,
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
, the Russian Federation,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. The major coarse grain exporters are
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, the EU, the Russian Federation,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. The major rice exporters are
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
,
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
, the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, and
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
.


Nutritional facts

Some grains are deficient in the
essential amino acid An essential amino acid, or indispensable amino acid, is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized from scratch by the organism fast enough to supply its demand, and must therefore come from the diet. Of the 21 amino acids common to all life forms ...
,
lysine Lysine (symbol Lys or K) is an α-amino acid Amino acids are organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, ...

lysine
. That is why many vegetarian cultures, in order to get a balanced diet, combine their diet of grains with
legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can ...

legume
s. Many legumes, however, are deficient in the essential amino acid
methionine Methionine (symbol Met or M) () is an essential amino acid An essential amino acid, or indispensable amino acid, is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized from scratch by the organism fast enough to supply its demand, and must therefore come ...

methionine
, which grains contain. Thus, a
combination In mathematics, a combination is a selection of items from a collection, such that the order of selection does not matter (unlike permutations). For example, given three fruits, say an apple, an orange and a pear, there are three combinations of t ...
of legumes with grains forms a well-balanced diet for vegetarians. Common examples of such combinations are
dal In Indian cuisine Indian cuisine consists of a variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the diversity in soil, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substant ...

dal
(lentils) with
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
by
South India South India is a region consisting of the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

South India
ns and
Bengalis Bengalis or Bangalis ( bn, বাঙালি ), also rendered as the Bengali people, are an native to the region in . The population is divided between the independent country and the Indian states of , and 's . Most of them speak , a ...

Bengalis
, dal with wheat in
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
and
North India North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest count ...

North India
,
beans A bean is the seed of one of several genus, genera of the flowering plant family (biology), family Fabaceae, which are used as vegetables for human or animal food. They can be cooked in many different ways, including boiling, frying, and b ...

beans
with
corn tortillas In North America, a corn tortilla or just tortilla (, ) is a type of thin, Leavening agent, unleavened flatbread, made from hominy (Nixtamalization, nixtamalized maize (corn)). In Mexico, there are three colors of maize dough for making tortillas ...
,
tofu Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living orga ...

tofu
with rice, and
peanut butter Peanut butter is a food Paste (food), paste or Spread (food), spread made from Grinding (abrasive cutting), ground, dry roasting, dry-roasted peanuts. It commonly contains additional ingredients that modify the taste or texture, such as salt, s ...
with wheat bread (as sandwiches) in several other cultures, including the Americas.. The amount of
crude protein Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as a fuel source. As a fuel, proteins provide as much energy density as carbohydrates: 4 Calories, kcal (17 Joule, kJ) pe ...
measured in grains is expressed as grain crude protein concentration. Cereals contain
exogenous In a variety of contexts, exogeny or exogeneity () is the fact of an action or object originating externally. It contrasts with endogeneity or endogeny, the fact of being influenced within a system. Economics In an economic An economy (; ) ...
opioid food peptidesOpioid food peptides include: * Casomorphin (from milk) * Gluten exorphin (from gluten) * Gliadorphin, Gliadorphin/gluteomorphin (from gluten) * Rubiscolin (from spinach) * Soymorphin-5 (from soy) * Oryzatensin (from rice) Peptides Opioids {{in ...
called exorphins such as gluten exorphin. They mimic the actions of endorphines because they bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain.


Standardization

The International Organization of Standardization, ISO has published a series of standards regarding cereal products which are covered by ICS 67.060.


See also

* Chillcuring, grain ventilating process * Food price crisis * Food quality * Food safety * Lists of foods * Nutrition * Post-harvest losses (grains), Post-harvest losses * Pseudocereal * Pulse (legume), Pulse * Push–pull technology * Zadoks scale


Notes


References


External links

{{Authority control Cereals, Crops