Quality of organic oats lower than in previous years

19.3.2007

<div>Grain size of organically grown oats was smaller than that of conventionally grown oats in 2006, though in earlier years there had been no difference. The grain size of organic rye has been clearly smaller than that of conventionally grown rye during the last five years. There was an exception in 2004, when there was no difference in grain size. </div>

Based on the results of the monitoring of the quality of the grain harvest, the hectolitre weight of organic rye was on average two kilograms lower in 2006 than that of conventionally produced rye. Using the measure of the weight of one thousand grains, grain size was also smaller for organic grains. There was however in organic grains (3.3 %), on average somewhat less shrivelled grains (≤1.8 mm) than in the conventionally grown samples (3.9 %). The differences between cultivation methods were small when it came to falling number and protein content.

The quality results for rye were similar to earlier years. For hectolitre weights the differences have varied from 1.3 kg to 2.6 kg. There was an exception in 2004, when there was no difference between different cultivation methods with respect to hectolitre weight. There were no large differences in the weight of one thousand grains or percentage of shrivelled grains in 2004. During five years the weight of one thousand grains has been on average 1.8 grams lower for organically grown grain and the percentage of shrivelled grains 2.3 percentage units higher than for conventionally grown samples.  

The differences between conventional and organic rye are partly explained by the selection of varieties. In organically grown rye in 2006 there were no samples of Amilo and only a few of Akusti and Elvi, which have a high hectolitre weight and weight per one thousand grains. In 2006, the share of spring rye, about one fifth of the samples, was the same both in conventional and organic cultivation. In 2005 one third of the organic samples were spring rye, whereas the share of spring rye in conventional cultivation remained at a good ten per cent.

The hectolitre weight of organic oat samples was on average 1.9 kg lower than for conventionally cultivated samples. The weight of one thousand grains was on average 2.3 grams lower for organically grown grain and the percentage of shrivelled grains 1.1 percentage units higher than in conventional cultivation. Unlike the rye, there was a clear difference also in the protein content between organic (12.7 %) and conventional cultivation (13.8 %) of oats.

The 2006 results for oats clearly differ from previous years’ results for organic cultivation. There has been no difference in hectolitre weight between the cultivation methods earlier and the weight per one thousand grains has been 0.6 – 0.8 grams lower for organic grain. The percentage of shrivelled grains, on the other hand, has been 0.6 – 2.2 percentage units lower for organic grains, except in 2002, when the percentages for both organically and conventionally grown samples were equal (8.6 %). The protein content has been 0.4 – 0.8 percentage units lower for organic grain.

Also for organic oats the lower grain size in 2006 is partly explained by the selection of varieties. The most common varieties in the organic samples were Veli, Aarre and Roope, which all had a lower average hectolitre weight than the average of all of the samples.  The protein content of Veli and Aarre were higher than average, but that of Roope was lower.

There have been 26 - 46 organically grown oat samples annually in the monitoring of grain quality. The percentage of all of the oat samples has varied between four and six per cent. There have been 20 - 30 samples annually of organic rye, which constitutes 21 – 35 per cent of the rye samples in total. 

The results of the monitoring of the quality of the grain harvest in 2006 have been published in Viljaseula (Evira’s publications 7/2007 http://www.evira.fi/portal/en/evira/publications/). In the publication there is, in addition to average quality, information about regional average quality and stratified quality and variety specific quality information. The results of the monitoring of the grain quality are also presented on Evira’s Internet pages: http://www.evira.fi/portal/fi/kasvintuotanto_ja_rehut/vilja/viljasadon_laatu/viljasadon_laatu_2006/

 

For more information, please contact:
Director Mirja Kartio tel. +358 20 77 25090
Senior Officer Juha Kärkkäinen tel. +358 20 77 25098
Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Cereal Inspection Unit
The format of the e-mail addresses is: firstname.surname@evira.fi

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