Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
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Ancient cereal variety tests and product development

The evaluation of ancient grain varieties

The evaluation of heterogeneous populations of durum wheat (Triticum durum) and various ancient grain varieties, including einkorn, emmer and spelt (Triticum monococcum, Triticum diococcon, Triticum spelta) in open-field cultivation, the establishment of a participatory selective breeding program, and product development.

Ancient grains can be successfully grown in unfavorable areas, or under very adverse conditions. Their heterogenous varieties will become increasingly valuable in the future, due to their high level of adaptability. Compared to common wheat, ancient grains have different nutritional indicators, and often contain different proteins. They thus offer important marketing opportunities when selling to consumers who are health and environmentally conscious, and to lovers of gastronomy. Both unique ancient-grain cereals and the products made from them can provide growers with an important additional source of income.

Why rediscover ancient grains? Watch our video!



Setting up on-farm and small-plot species and variety tests with 4-8 producers, and at the ÖMKi experimental area.

  • We record germination vigor, weed control and general habitus at different phenophases of a plant’s development.
  • We examine the plant protection status at plots, evaluate the nutritional parameters of the crop, and examine the calibration possibilities of NIR based methods which allow for rapid determination.
  • We assess the concentrations in harvested crops of fusarium fungi, which are responsible for producing mycotoxins, and we measure yields.
  • We acquaint participating producers with the techniques of participatory selective breeding, and help launch this process.
  • We examine the processing and product development potential of ancient grain cultivation

As part of our annual planning and field days, we discuss and share results with key figures in the supply chain.

Expected results

  • A technical description of the successful cultivation of ancient grains;
  • a practical publication on participatory selective breeding techniques, and successful seed health maintenance;
  • new ancient-grain populations based on local selection, maintained by ÖMKi and participating farmers;
  • the development of ancient grains in cooperation with key figures in the value chain;
  • proposals for a domestic regulatory system of heterogenous plant propagation material.

Magyar Nemzeti Vidéki Hálózat

The implementation of the research is supported by Hungarian National Rural Network (MNVH):

Contact person

Dr. Szilvia Bencze

research lead

Biologist, Ph.D
+36 20 381 7785

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At the beginning of this year's harvest period, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi) is drawing attention to the value of locally grown, healthy, organically harvested cereals.

2020. July 1.

Ancient grains are conquering the future

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