Hard red spring wheat (HRSW) is produced in a wider and more diverse geography than any other market class in North America. Much of this diversity is due to the fact that hard red spring wheat seed does not require a vernalization cycle, giving it the ability to make the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth stage without a cold interlude. In 2010, nearly 13 million acres of hard red spring wheat varieties were planted in the United States, equating to 570 million bushels produced. North Dakota farmers rank first in the production of HRSW in the United States, with more than 14,000 farms that grow hard red springs each year.
Hard red spring wheat is also known as Dark Northern Spring wheat (DNS) and is considered by many to be a specialty class, due to its strong gluten characteristics and high protein content. These unique production qualities enable end users to produce fine breads, hard rolls and bagels. Mixed batch flour is also produced by combining high protein HRSW with lower protein market classes to improve loaf volume, dough handling, water absorption and other mixing characteristics. Aside from its role as an ingredient in food products, HRSW is also used in the production of laundry detergent, paper manufacturing and ethanol.