Emmer and einkorn variety field day was jointly organized by ÖMKi and the Research Institute of Nyíregyháza on 30 June 2017 in Nyíregyháza. Around 40 participants took part in the event, mostly interested growers and researchers, but representatives of commercial and processing companies related to the production of minor cereals also attended.
The field day was opened by Dr. László Zsombik, director of the Research Institute of Nyíregyháza who welcomed the initiative of the two Institutes. Dr. Dóra Drexler, managing director of ÖMKi, presented the practice-oriented research carried out on organic arable growing fields, highlighing Diversifood, one of the international projects of ÖMKi. The aim of Diversifood is to create as many practical growing and processing experiences as possible about ancient cereals species such as einkorn and emmer varieties and landraces in the frame of domestic organic farming. With practical knowledge, we try to introduce the best varieties and landraces to the wider public; from growers to consumers, with the purpose of returning these underutilized ancient cereals into the general cultivation and food consumption. In the frame of the Diversifood project, ÖMKi, in cooperation with the Research Institute of Nyíregyháza, has been examining the commercial and seed bank varieties of einkorn and emmer for two years now in small plot trials, in certified organic growing fields. During the afternoon field trip, the participants were able to see the plant specialties introduced in the presentations.
Attila Tomócsik, researcher of Nyíregyháza Research Institute presented the detailed results of the plot trials. Extended measurements and observations assessed the number of tillers, leaf and head diseases, stem height, evaluated lodging and weed suppresion, yield and determined hectoliter and thousand kernel weight. In addition, the aim was to propagate small amounts of seeds for the next year, which was secured by multiple selection of plants in small plots. In terms of yield, Hungarian varieties and landraces from both species performed very well. Between emmer, Mv Hegyes produced excellent yield, whereas among einkorn, Mv Alkor and a NÖDIK landrace performed with the highest yield. Based on the results of the small plot trials, it can be concluded that Hungarian and foreign varieties and landraces can be grown well in Nyírség, however plant protection presented a challange in organic cultivation – due to the favorable weather conditions for the growth of pathogens.
Péter Hertelendy, an expert in plant pathology, spoke about plant protection experiences. He underlined that during the analysis of einkorn and emmer varieties, einkorn proved to be decisively healthier. None of the three infectious leaf diseases (yellow rust, leaf rust, septoria leaf spot) in the experimental area caused any perceptible infection on the einkorn varieties. Fusarium head blight was also not a problem. In case of emmer, one of the spring varieties was extremely susceptible to leaf rust. In case of winter emmer varieties, all three leaf diseases appeared.
Representing Natur Gold Kft., Ildikó Petró and Ferenc Paszternák summerized the production technology and current market status of emmer and einkorn. The market situation of einkorn and emmer is still undeveloped, although, in terms of positioning, food products made from these plants are considered culinary specialties, therefore new market segments can be gained with them. From einkorn, excellent pastry,whereas from emmer, high quality pasta products can be produced. The company’s representatives exhibited their products and answered questions as well.
Mihály Földi, a leading researcher of ÖMKI’s cereal on-farm network also reported on the results of einkorn and emmer on-farm variety trials pointing out farmer’s experiences on yield and production technology. Sowing and harvesting, similarly to spelt, proved to be more problematic as einkorn and emmer varieties are not only husked (glumed) but awned as well with large straw weight, which makes machinery settings difficult to adjust, in some cases causing jams. In addition, on high-nutritious soils, the varieties may grow very high which could cause lodging - this also impedes harvest and can mean a deterioration in quality. Husking can only be successfully done using special equipment, but farmers often solve this problem with the help of the combined harvester, paying attention to the adjustment of the screens.
Closing with a field visit, the participants had the opportunity to view the status of the crops few weeks before harvest.