Organic spelt field day at Yanco

Spelt varieties from a research project which aims to lift the yield and quality of the ancient wheat will be highlighted at a field day in Yanco next month.

The field day at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Yanco Agricultural Institute (YAI) organic site will take place on Thursday December 7 from 9.30 am until lunchtime.

NSW DPI organic farming liaison officer, Robyn Neeson, said farmers from throughout the wheat growing areas of NSW, Victoria and Queensland were expected to travel to the Riverina to inspect 63 spelt varieties in the YAI evaluation trial.

“Growing consumer demand for spelt and spelt products, bread, pasta and breakfast cereals, has seen a premium paid for organic spelt,” Ms Neeson said.

“In fact demand is currently outstripping local supply and we hope to boost local spelt production by identifying which lines will produce the highest yield and deliver the grain quality required by processors.”

NSW DPI senior research scientists, David Luckett and Jeff Evans, will present up-to-date results from the trial with NSW DPI organic farming technical assistant, Ester van Meeuwin, outlining some of the facts and fallacies surrounding spelt.

The field day program also features the Victorian DPI’s findings on weed management in organic cereal production and Alan Druce’s first-hand experiences growing organic spelt on his property ‘Green Grove’.

Buckwheat Enterprises’ Geoff Brown from Parkes has been enlisted to offer insights into markets for spelt and other speciality grains. A representative from George Weston Technologies will be on-hand to discuss and answer grower questions about the quality requirements for spelt processing.

The cost of the field day is $15, which covers an organic morning tea and lunch supplied by Buronga Organics, Cootamundra.

Funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Biological Farmers of Australia, the EH Graham Centre (NSW DPI in collaboration with Charles Sturt University) 56 spelt lines are growing under irrigation on certified organic land at YAI - an extra seven in the glasshouse.

Growers intending to attend the organic spelt field day should RSVP to Robyn Neeson, ph (02) 6951 2735 by Friday December 1.