Unexpectedly Intriguing!
September 23, 2015

Each summer, American farmers harvest millions of bushels of wheat. But those bushels don't head straight to the market for sale - the wheat is first processed, transforming it from an agricultural product into the non-durable goods that consumers can actually buy at the markets where they shop.

Two years ago, Katie Taube of KSN-TV told the story of how wheat goes from field to flour.

WICHITA, Kansas — Now that the Kansas wheat harvest is over, much of that grain is going to Horizon Mill in Wichita for flour production.

“Sometimes if it’s really busy we can do anywhere from 90 trucks a day,” says truck dump operator, Charlene Johnson.

How much wheat is that really? After describing what the mill does to transform the wheat into consumable flour, Taube details what they do to move the pure flour they've milled onto the next stage of its journey to become the products you buy in your local grocery store.

The pure flour then fills two 50,000 pound holding tanks before getting loaded onto trucks.

“It takes about 20 minutes from when I start a load to go through everything and get loaded in the truck,” says bulk loader Jason Clark.

The trucks are regulated for cleanliness.

And if a 50,000 pound truckload isn’t enough, there’s options.

“We can load anywhere from 180,000 to 210,000 pounds of flour on a rail car,” says Jason.

Doing some quick math, since a single bushel of wheat can produce as much as 42 pounds of flour, each single truckload of wheat flour being shipped out represents approximately 1,190 bushels of wheat. Since a large semi can carry 910 bushels of wheat, we find that about 76% of each truckload of wheat into the mill is actually converted to flour that is shipped out.

At up to 90 trucks per day, that works out to be 81,900 bushels of wheat arriving daily which, if it could all be milled in one day before being shipped out to its next stage of production, would add up to 3.44 million pounds of wheat per day, which would take 69 trucks to deliver.

Considering a different metric, since a 5 pound bag of flour is a pretty standard size U.S. consumers can buy at a typical grocery store, at that peak production rate, that's the equivalent of 687,960 bags of flour.

But a large portion of the wheat that arrives daily during harvest season is stored, where it is milled into flour at other times of the year to better match the demand of consumers for wheat flour. Even so, it's still an enormous daily operation that impresses the people who work at milling bushels of wheat into flour with its scale and scope.

Even people who’ve worked at Horizon Mill for more than a decade still appreciate the process that feeds people across the world.

“To see the wheat and everything it’s just neat and how they make it, it’s nice yeah,” says Charlene.

The Horizon Mill plant in Newton packages smaller quantities of flour, like the sacks of Wal-Mart brand flour you see at the store.

More than two-million pounds of flour are produced every single day at Horizon Mill.

References

InvestorWords. Non-durable Good Definition and Examples. [Online Text]. Accessed 14 August 2015.

Taube, Katie. KSN.com. From Field to Flour; How Kansas Grain Feeds the World. Online Article]. 23 July 2013. Accessed 14 August 2015.

Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Shipping Comparisons. [Online Text]. Accessed 14 August 2015.

Tom Morton harvests wheat on his farm near Oxford, Kan., Friday, June 13, 2003 - Source: http://photos.state.gov/libraries/usinfo-photo/39/week_5/020107-farming-500.jpg

Labels: ,

About Political Calculations



blog advertising
is good for you

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts

Applications

This year, we'll be experimenting with a number of apps to bring more of a current events focus to Political Calculations - we're test driving the app(s) below!

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Visitors since December 6, 2004:

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button

JavaScript

The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links
Charities We Support
Recommended Reading
Recommended Viewing
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Archives
Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.