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Organic Cereal Varieties: The Results of four years of Trials

Pearce, Bruce (2004) Organic Cereal Varieties: The Results of four years of Trials. EFRC technical and Research note series. Elm Farm Research Centre, Research Department.

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Summary

Modern breeding has focussed on producing plants that perform well in a monoculture; they are designed to interfere minimally with their neighbours under high fertility conditions, where all ameliorable factors are controlled. The aim of this design is to provide a crop community that makes best use of light supply to the best advantage of grain production. Wheat is the most developed example of this approach - with a high proportion of seminal roots, erect leaves, large ears and a relatively dwarf structure - but all other cereal breeding follows it.
This 'pedigree line for monoculture' approach is highly successful but it has delivered crop communities that do best where light is the only, or the main, limiting factor for productivity. Therefore the products of this approach to breeding require inputs to raise fertility, and to control weeds, pests and diseases.
Clearly this is not the case in organic farming. Quick acting inputs are not generally available to control or mitigate negative abiotic and biotic interactions. Even within well-functioning organic systems the number of relatively uncontrollable factors and the complexity of their interaction across farms, fields and years are an order of magnitude different from conventional production.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Organic varieties; cereals; plant breeding; yields; field trials; organic farming; organic systems
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Research affiliation: UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Deposited By: Woodward, Lawrence
ID Code:4139
Deposited On:03 Jan 2005
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:30
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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