Methods to improve quality in organic wheat
The titel of this project of this CORE Organic pilot project is "Agronomical and technological methods to improve organic wheat quality". The researchers conducting the project ACTEC-Org have focused on the optimization of agronomic practices and grain fractionation processes in order to obtain wheat and flour with improved nutritional
value, health and sensory characteristics.
The overall objective of AGTEC-Org has been to identify agronomical and technological ways to improve
the performance of organic wheat and flour. And in this way to contribute to enhancing the baking quality
and nutritional value of organic flour, and preventing mycotoxin contamination to fulfil consumers
expectations of providing safe and healthy products. Below you find the most impoartant research results.
Location, soil type and cultivars influence yield and protein content
In general, the location, soil type and cultivars appeared to have a high influence on the grain yield
and grain protein content obtained in the different long-term field experiments. Thus the protein
content of the samples from all experiments and years showed a wide range of variability, ranging from 6.7 to 15.8 g/100g of dry matter.
Agronomical practices influence protein quality
The agronomical practices also influenced protein quantity and quality. Wheat of high protein
quantity and quality can be produced with reduced tillage, provided just that soil and climate
conditions are suitable and the nitrogen management is appropriate. Intercropping with legumes is an effective strategy to improve protein quantity and quality in wheat.
Pea and clover grass were most effective. Catch crops and rotations with legumes were also
effective, with clover grass often improving the performance.
Conclusions and recommendations
- Adoption of minimum tillage should be considered on organic systems where weed competition
had been controlled by mechanical weeding or diverse crop rotation.
Positive effect of minimum
tillage on soil fertility could directly affect crop nutrient nutrition through good rooting when initial
soil structure was good. No direct effect of minimum tillage on wheat quality was generally
observed while others ecological benefits as improvement of soil biological fertility could be
The impact of reduced tillage on grain quality has no incidence when economic
condition (e.g. policy aid support or selling price) and yield obtained are significant on wheat
Nitrogen organic fertilization and green manure
- Organic grain systems are frequently characterized by temporary N deficiency with consequences
on wheat yield and grain protein content. The incidence of N fertilization based on farmyard
manure was moderate on wheat grain yield and grain protein content. On the contrary, adequate
use of fertilizer with readily available nitrogen could significantly improve grain yield without
impairing grain quality.
On high fertility soil, regular use of green manure and forage legumes could
balance the lack of on-farm manure.
On less fertile soils, benefits of green manure on wheat
performance were directly linked to water availability and quality of initial emergence. Grain quality
parameters were affected by N fertilization while no or minimum incidence of green manure was