Comparing usefulness and effect of plant conditioners
Bread crops have been produced by mankind for thousands of years. Cereals with good quality are the most important exported products of Hungarian crop production. This is also true for organic agriculture: organic cereal is produced on 20.000 hectares in Hungary. Half of this production is winter wheat and spelt. The outstanding quality (baking industry, nutritional value) of both species makes these demanded foodstuffs for export, mainly to Western Europe. Because of this, we seek to improve cultivation methods of organic cereals, find solution to production problems, and enhance efficiency of qualitative production.
Our study, started in 2012 is a series of exact tests: we are looking for methods of enhancing production safety and improving quality thereby reducing the effects of years with extreme weather.
Plant conditioners (also used as foliar fertilizer) recommended for both increasing yield and improving quality are permitted in organic agriculture and are widely known by farmers. In small plot experiments during the general licence process, these products demonstrated their ability to increase yield and/or improve quality, condition and disease resistance. However, examination of their efficiency in organic farming has not happened yet. We decided to study plant conditioners currently on the market and permitted in organic agriculture to investigate their effect(s) on cereals.
Our research question: is it possible to improve nutritional value of harvested cereal with the specific plant conditioner? By nutritional value, we mean common qualitative parameters often checked at acceptance: protein content, gluten, falling number, etc. We also studied mycotoxin production of Fusarium species as an important factor decreasing quality. Further, we assessed how plant conditioner treatments influenced yield.