Wheat

Wheat is the most important food grain cultivated in Norway. Its good baking properties makes it the most important cereal species for baking. High protein content with gluten proteins makes dough rise and keeps it from collapsing during the baking process.

Get to know Graminor’s wheat varieties

Wheat requires warmer weather than the other cereal species cultivated in Norway and therefore it’s mostly grown in the south-eastern part of the country. Winter wheat also requires good overwintering conditions.

Two types of wheat are grown in Norway, spring wheat and winter wheat. All wheat grown in Norway for human consumption comes from spring wheat. Wheat is divided into five classes according to quality where class 5 is the lowest and 1 is the highest quality. The spring wheat varieties are divided into classes 1, 2 and 3, while winter wheat is put into classes 4 and 5. In 2020, Graminor supplied 60% of the spring wheat varieties that were sown in Norway.

Wheat for human consumption is priced after quality. The minimum quality requirements are a hectolitre weight of 79, a protein content of 11,5% and a falling number over 200 to be classified as suitable for use in human food production. Wheat that doesn’t meet these quality requirements are used in animal feed.

The falling number test is one of the quality tests wheat goes through to determine quality

Until the 1970s almost all wheat for human consumption in Norway was imported. In the mid-1970s, efforts were started to provide Norwegian agriculture with wheat varieties that were adapted to the Norwegian climate through variety development and other initiatives. Since then, the Norwegian production of wheat for human consumption has increased from 0% self-sufficiency to around 75% in good years.

The aim of Graminor’s wheat breeding program is to breed varieties with good agronomic and quality traits. Graminor breeds new varieties of spring wheat and provides Norwegian farmers with winter wheat seed through representation of foreign winter wheat varieties.

Important agronomic traits:

  • High yield
  • Early maturation.
  • Good straw strength and straw quality.
  • Good resistance to disease and pests, especially powdery mildew, yellow rust, Fusarium and Septoria, which are important for both crop yield and quality.
  • For winter wheat, strong overwintering abilities are important.

Important quality traits:

  • High hectolitre weight.
  • Suitable and high falling number.
  • High protein content of good quality, which is a deciding factor for baking and hygiene.
  • Good hygienic quality (low values of fungal toxins and mould).

Meet the wheat team

Tom Arnesen, research technician