Determining how a crop will develop in different environments is crucial to encouraging more farmers to grow it. Rye is a cereal grain grown in areas of Europe, and while it is not widely farmed in other parts of the world, its features make it a desirable option for growers.
Estonian researchers researched how rye grows in Estonia and the United Kingdom. They experimented with various rye kinds and fertilizers. When compared to the UK, Estonia has colder winters and more snow.
“We revealed the results of the Healthy Minor Cereals project experiment, which ran from 2013 to 2018,” explains Estonian Crop Research Institute researcher Ilme Tupits. “The goal was to look at how winter rye growing may be expanded to other climate zones in Europe.”
Crop Science, a publication of the Crop Science Society of America, published this study.
The researchers grew four distinct types of rye in Estonia and the United Kingdom for the experiment. Each kind had slightly different traits. According to Tupits, a rye type must be both hardy and resistant to snow mould infection to thrive in Estonia.
They use four different types of fertilizer which contains nitrogen to the winter rye in two different amounts. Organic farming makes use of three fertilizers: cattle slurry, farmyard manure, and biogas digestate. Mineral nitrogen, the fourth type, is employed in conventional farming.
According to Tupits, mineral nitrogen is immediately available to plants once put in the field. Nitrogen from organic fertilizers, on the other hand, is slowly absorbed by plants during the growth period. Tupits claim that rye requires less nitrogen than other cereals to provide a high yield. “This is what makes it a useful crop.” The precise amount of nitrogen used in rye production is determined by geographical location, meteorological conditions, soil nutrient concentration, and variety cultivated.”
Mineral nitrogen and biogas digestate resulting in increased yield and seed protein content in both Estonia and the United Kingdom, according to their findings. Biogas digestate is a byproduct of the manufacture of biogas from cattle dung. Tupits states that it is a useful organic fertiliser alternative for crops with lesser nutritional requirements, such as winter rye, as well as other cereals in organic farming.
Some rye types were more resistant to winter than others. Furthermore, certain plants were more resilient to winter mould than others. Snow mould may wreak havoc on a farmer’s yield.
Another problem that rye farmers experience is lodging. This occurs when the cereal stem bends to the ground from standing straight up. This can happen when there is a lot of wind or rain, and it could be caused by a disease. Some kinds are less susceptible than others to experience lodging.
Tupits believe it all boils down to the individual needs of the growing site. Their findings will assist farmers in selecting the optimal rye variety for their region.
“Ultimately, the quality of the cereals is determined by a variety of factors,” she explains. “These are affected by soil qualities, air and soil temperature during the growing season, the presence of plant diseases, and other factors.” There are no varieties that are suited for cultivation anywhere. Farmers choose cereal kinds based on their location’s soil and climatic circumstances.”
Tupits describes the study as a powerful interaction between scientists and breeders, and it was designed to assist farmers, wheat producers, and bread manufacturers. Winter rye is currently grown in only a few countries, and rye bread is not extensively consumed.
Rye bread has a long history in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Ukraine, Poland, and Germany. Despite the fact that studies has revealed that rye offers numerous health benefits, many people do not consume it.
“We’ve served rye bread to visitors at our research institute, and they’re blown away by how wonderful it is,” Tupits says.
“I believe that additional rye research will aid in better organising agriculture and food generation for an increasing population in a dynamic environment.”
The European Community supported this study as part of the integrated project Healthy Minor Cereals under the Seventh Framework Program.