Rye and triticale

Rye was introduced into Norway approximately 1500 years ago, and it was the most common cereal species in Norway during the Middle Ages. Historically, this makes rye among the more recent cereal species to be cultivated in Norway.
In 1907, rye was grown on 360 000 decares. At that point that it made up a fifth of the Norwegian cereal area. Eventually rye was replaced by barley, oats and the increasing production and import of wheat. In the last 60 years only small areas of rye have been cultivated in Norway.

Rye growing at Graminor’s research station in south east Norway

Currently, about two thirds of Norwegian ryeproduction is used for human consumption, while the remainder is used in the production of animal feed. Rye protein doesn’t produce gluten and therefore it has inferior baking qualities in comparison to wheat. However, in contrast, rye is the cereal species that has the highest fibre content. Fibre binds water well, and this makes it possible to bake bread based on rye. As pure rye bread is very heavy, rye is used mostly in cereal mixes.

Triticale is a relatively new species that was created through crossing wheat and rye in the late 1800s. The name triticale hails from combining the latin family names of wheat (triticum) and rye (secale). Triticale has a higher yield potential than rye. In Norway it is exclusively used in animal feed. It is more demanding of its soil than rye, but less than wheat. Years ago triticale was unpoular in Norway, but has been increasing in popularity for some years now.

Triticale has inadequate baking properties, and because of that it is only used in feed in Norway. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in food. Among other things triticale is well suited for breakfast cereal and for pasta.

The rye market is dominated by hybrid varieties that has a higher yield than the population varieties. In Norway, rye and triticale is mostly grown in the counties Vestfold og Telemark, Viken and Innlandet. Since rye has a deep root network and can stand drought better than other cereal species it is grown in relatively light soil.

Graminor doesn’t have a breeding program for neither rye nor triticale. We supply the Norwegian farmer with suitable varieties through representation of foreign varieties.

Important agronomic traits:

  • High yield
  • Good straw strength
  • Early maturation
  • Good overwintering properties
  • High resistance to disease

Important quality traits:

  • Good core quality
  • High falling number
  • Rich in fiber
  • Large grains and high hectolitre weight
  • Good hygienic quality

Meet the team

Jon Arne Dieseth, Cereal breeder and in charge of the rye program
Margit Oami Kollstrøm, Assisting Cereal breeder and co-responsible for the Rye Program