Organic wheat quality improved by cultural techniques

Reduced tillage, intercropping beneficial for bread wheat

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As the demand for organic bread expands, farmers and bakers are concerned about quality and safety. Farmers are interested in cultural techniques to improve the baking quality and reduce mycotoxin contamination in the production of wheat. Plant available nitrogen and weed pressure are the two biggest limiting factors in production.

The CORE Organic project "Agronomical and Technological methods to improve organic wheat quality" (AGTEC-Org) assessed reduced tillage, organic fertility management and intercropping with legumes in 11 long-term field trials and 12 farmers' field trials in Austria, Denmark, France and Switzerland.

Reduced tillage worked best in fields where weed pressure was relatively low. Quality of wheat grown with reduced tillage was comparable to that of traditional plowing. Mycotoxin levels were generally low in reduced tillage systems and increased when wheat followed corn or lupine, but not in other cases. Intercropping with peas did not have a significant adverse effect on yield in most cases, reduced weed pressure and improved wheat quality.

(Text: Brian Baker, FiBL)

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  • David, C.; Celette, F.; Abecassis, J.; Carcea, M.; Dubois, D.; Friedel, J.K.; Hellou, G.; Jeuffroy, M.H.; Mäder, P. und Thomsen, I.K. (2012) Agronomical techniques to improve technological and sanitary quality. ISARA - Institut supérieure de l'agriculture Lyon, Lyon, France. http://orgprints.org/21100/

About CORE Organic

The European funded  project CORE Organic (Co-ordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming) is a co-ordination action in organic food and farming (2004 to 2007). The overall objective is to gather the critical mass and enhance quality, relevance and utilisation of resources in European research in organic food and farming. AGTEC is one of the projects funded under the first phase of CORE Organic. For more information see www.coreorganic.org and www.coreorganic2.org.