Nefg organic

The Summer of Cereals

We are nearing the end of harvest at Nafferton, and closing out our busiest cereal season in recent memory. NEFG managed trials of spelt, rye, spring wheat, winter wheat, spring barley, buckwheat and quinoa this year–here are some updates about our more unusual species.

Spelt and Rye
The HealthyMinorCereals project included three trials of spelt and rye: a fertility trial (combined with the Sustainable Intensification Platform), variety trial and tillage trial.

This was the first year for the variety and tillage trials, which will be sown again in the next few weeks.

HMC Tillage 2016
The Rye and Spelt Tillage Trial at Nafferton Farm

The Rye and Spelt Variety Trial at Nafferton Farm

The fertility trial, in its second and final year at Nafferton, was the focus of a NEFG-led July information session and was highlighted during a SIP workshop organised by the landbridge network.

These trials will expand to 4 organic and 4 conventional fields on farms in the Northeast this October to look at additional agronomic and climatic factors. The farmer-participatory trials are a major part of the project and will hopefully encourage more direct collaboration between researchers and farmers in the future.

July 2nd Information Session
The event at Nafferton included updated results from the spelt and rye fertility trials and a farm walk to view the trials. The day was attended by 30 people, including northeast farmers, millers, bakers, students, researchers and others working in land management. The group also briefly visited Gilchesters Organic Farm, a partner in the project, and discussed challenges and opportunities in the food supply chain for minor cereals.

Visiting the fertility trials before the rain at the July information session

To view some of the results presented at this event, please click the following link: Initial yield and quality results from the Nafferton Spelt and Rye Fertility trial

September 8th SIP Workshop
The spelt and rye fertility trials were also toured prior to harvest as part of a SIP workshop focusing on the “key role of farm advisers in sustainable intensification”. Attendees were primarily agricultural and land management advisers and research from multiple SIP study-farms were included.

Rye prior to the 2016 harvest

The landbridge network organised the event and a follow-up blog is available on their website.

Quinoa and Buckwheat
Nafferton trialed quinoa and buckwheat for the first time this year and visitors at both the July info session and the September workshop were very interested in the unusual crops growing in our field trials this year.

Quinoa (foreground) and Buckwheat in June 2016

Quinoa in early September 2016

Harvest of these crops is imminent and we are eager to look through this past seasons data and yield results. As this was NEFG’s first experience, we look forward to growing these varieties for a second year and to share more information about these trials as we learn more ourselves.

For additional information about any of the research at Nafferton, please contact Amelia Magistrali at

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