A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and legumes. After being harvested, dry grains are more durable than other staple foods, such as starchy fruits (plantains, breadfruit, etc.) and tubers (sweet potatoes, cassava, and more). This durability has made grains well suited to industrial agriculture, since they can be mechanically harvested, transported by rail or ship, stored for long periods in silos, and milled for flour or pressed for oil. Thus, major global commodity markets exist for canola, maize, rice, soybeans, wheat, and other grains but not for tubers, vegetables, or other crops.
1 Grains and cereals 2 Classification
2.1.1 Warm-season cereals 2.1.2 Cool-season cereals
2.2 Pseudocereal grains 2.3 Pulses 2.4 Oilseeds
2.4.1 Mustard family 2.4.2 Aster family 2.4.3 Other families
3 Historical impact of grain agriculture 4 Occupational safety and health 5 See also 6 References
Grains and cereals
Grains and cereals are synonymous with caryopses, the fruits of the
grass family. In agronomy and commerce, seeds or fruits from other
plant families are called grains if they resemble caryopses. For
example, amaranth is sold as "grain amaranth", and amaranth products
may be described as "whole grains". The pre-Hispanic civilizations of
the Andes had grain-based food systems but, at the higher elevations,
none of the grains was a cereal. All three grains native to the Andes
(kaniwa, kiwicha, and quinoa) are broad-leafed plants rather than
grasses such as corn, rice, and wheat.
All cereal crops are members of the grass family (Poaceae). Cereal grains contain a substantial amount of starch, a carbohydrate that provides dietary energy. Warm-season cereals
finger millet fonio foxtail millet Japanese millet Job's tears kodo millet maize (corn) millet pearl millet proso millet sorghum
barley oats rice rye spelt teff triticale wheat wild rice
Starchy grains from broadleaf (dicot) plant families:
Pulses or grain legumes, members of the pea family, have a higher protein content than most other plant foods, at around 20%, while soybeans have as much as 35%. As is the case with all other whole plant foods, pulses also contain carbohydrate and fat. Common pulses include:
chickpeas common beans common peas (garden peas) fava beans lentils lima beans lupins mung beans peanuts pigeon peas runner beans soybeans
Oilseeds Oilseed grains are grown primarily for the extraction of their edible oil. Vegetable oils provide dietary energy and some essential fatty acids. They are also used as fuel and lubricants. Mustard family
black mustard India mustard rapeseed (including canola)
safflower sunflower seed
flax seed (Flax family)
hemp seed (
Historical impact of grain agriculture Because grains are small, hard and dry, they can be stored, measured, and transported more readily than can other kinds of food crops such as fresh fruits, roots and tubers. The development of grain agriculture allowed excess food to be produced and stored easily which could have led to the creation of the first permanent settlements and the division of society into classes. Occupational safety and health Those who handle grain at grain facilities may encounter numerous occupational hazards and exposures. Risks include grain entrapment, where workers are submerged in the grain and unable to remove themselves; explosions caused by fine particles of grain dust, and falls. See also
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^ Babcock, P. G., ed. 1976. Webster's Third New International
Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Co.
^ "Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants of the Andes with
Promise for Worldwide Cultivation". Office of International Affairs,
National Academies. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. 1989.
^ Vaughan, J. G., C. Geissler, B. Nicholson, E. Dowle, and E. Rice.
1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press.
^ Serna-Saldivar, S.O. (2012).