The overall goal of this article is to better understand the factors that influence China’s wheat supply. We assess trends in China’s wheat output and develop a framework to measure the relationship between output and key determinants of China’s wheat sector growth. Elasticity estimates and factor growth trends help decompose the growth of reform‐era wheat supply into its component parts. The results show that growth in the early reform period was due to institutional change and technology. In the late reform period, however, with the returns to institutional change exhausted, all of China’s growth in wheat supply was due to technology, a result that implies China’s government should invest heavily in agricultural research and development.