Organic Cereal Breeding
Long Development Time in the “Open-Air Laboratory”
15 years of groundwork
In practice it can take more than 15 years from the first crossing to the cultivation of a variety.
In order to finance their development work for organic farming, organic plant breeders receive support from dedicated companies, foundations and private individuals, and generate license income.
The list of requirements for an organic cereal breeder is long:
- good adaptation of the varieties to the cultivation conditions on organic farms
- breeding for smut resistance that helps to ensure seed quality health
- robustness and a balance of vege- tative and reproductive
- growth forces good straw yield and strong rooting to increase fertility in different locations
- meaningful balance between the cultivation requirements and yield
- good processing and especially baking quality even at the lower levels of crude protein and gluten typical of organic farming
- high food quality
Diversity is important
Commitment too for unusual species
Organic cereal breeding also works on crops of lesser commercial importance such as hulless barley, emmer and einkorn. It thus creates new potential for versatile crop cultivation on organic farms.