Where Wheat Grows

Washington State is unique for the number of micro-climates that exist throughout its grain growing region. Wheat can be found planted in areas that receive 8 inches of precipitation (20.32 cm) to 25 inches (63.5 cm) of precipitation. Unlike most states, the bulk of Washington’s precipitation comes during the winter, which makes it highly unlikely that rain will fall near or during harvest and compromise the integrity of the crop.

The WGC divides the state into three rainfall regions: dry, intermediate and wet. The rolling hills of the Palouse near the Idaho border receives 20 plus inches of precipitation annually. Whitman County, located in the heart of the Palouse, is known to be the largest wheat producing county in the U.S. An area around Walla Walla near the Oregon border also receives nearly that much precipitation and is very productive. The vast majority of Washington’s acreage, however, is in the dry and intermediate zone, from 10 to 15 inches of precipitation. Much of this land is summer fallowed, that is, the land is allowed to rest a year between crops to accumulate moisture. Harvest usually begins soon after the Fourth of July in the driest areas of the state and is finishing by the second week of September.