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Organic Bread Wheat Production and Market in Europe

David, C.; Abecassis, J.; Carcea, M.; Celette, F.; Friedel, J.K.; Hellou, G.; Hiltbrunner, J.; Messmer, M.; Narducci, V.; Peigné, J.; Samson, M.-F.; Schweinzer, A.; Thomsen, I.K. and Thommen, A. (2012) Organic Bread Wheat Production and Market in Europe. In: Lichtfouse, Eric (Ed.) Sustainable Agriculture Reviews. Springer, The Netherlands, pp. 43-62.

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Document available online at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-007-5449-2_3


This chapter is a first attempt to analyse bottlenecks and challenges of European organic bread wheat sector involving technical, political and market issues. From 2000, the organic grain market has largely increased in Western Europe. To balance higher consumer demand there is a need to increase organic production by a new transition and technical improvement. Bread wheat is grown in a variety of crop rotations and farming systems where four basic organic crop production systems have been defined. Weeds and nitrogen deficiency are considered to be the most serious threat inducing lowest grain yield under organic production. The choice of cultivar, green manure, fertilization and intercropping legumes – grain or forage – are efficient ways to obtain high grain quality and quantity.
The economic viability of wheat production in Europe is also affected by subsidies from European Union agri-environmental programs. Support has been granted to organic farming since the beginning of the 1990s. Direct payments from European regulation combined with premium prices paid by consumers had compensated the lowest crop production. In the European Union, the current cycle of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is due to end in 2013. Discussions are now under way to support the policy for the period 2014–2020. With the increasing consumer awareness of their food, the growth of the organic sector may continue in the near future. However, financial crisis in some countries may lead to stagnation or even decline of consumer demand.
The development of the organic grain sector is actually confronted to others challenges as quality and safety value. Technological ways of milling and baking may also improve baking quality and nutritional value of organic flour, as well as it prevents mycotoxin contamination. For instance, milling process strongly influences flour characteristics. Stone milling improves nutritive value when characteristics remain very stable independently of the milling yield while flour characteristics from roller milling appear very susceptible to the milling yield. The economic efficiency of the bread wheat sector is also influences by the existence of an adequate marketing structure answering consumers’ requirements. This paper is a contribution of a multidisciplinary group of researchers involved in AGTEC-Org project using peer review, statistical data and interviews of key actors: farmers, advisers or experts (coreorganic.org/research/projects/agtec-org/index.html).

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Organic agriculture, Food-chain, Bread wheat, Baking Quality, Yield, Farming Systems, Plant Breeding & Variety Testing, Pflanzenzüchtung & Sortenprüfung, FiBL 3501702
Agrovoc keywords:
Organic agriculture
Bread wheat
Baking quality
farming systems
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Crop husbandry
Food systems > Markets and trade
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic > AGTEC-Org
Switzerland > Agroscope > ART - Reckenholz location
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > Faculty of Science and Technology > Department of Agroecology
France > CIRAD - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement
France > ESA - Ecole Supérieure d'Agriculture d'Angers
France > ISARA - Institut supérieure d’agriculture Lyon
Italy > INRAN National Research Institute Food & Nutrition
Austria > Other organizations
Deposited By: Messmer, Dr. Monika
ID Code:26365
Deposited On:12 Jun 2014 08:53
Last Modified:12 Jan 2021 10:24
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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