Increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of organic crop breeding.
The ECOBREED project aims to improve the availability of seeds and varieties suitable for organic and low-input production. Activities will focus on four crop species selected for their potential contribution to increasing the competitiveness of the organic sector: common wheat, potato, soya and common buckwheat. The project will develop:
• Methods, strategies and infrastructures for organic breeding
• Varieties with improved stress resistance, resource efficiency and quality
• Improved methods for producing high-quality organic seed.
The project focuses on four crop species that play an important role in organic agriculture: wheat (soft and durum wheat), potatoes, soya and buckwheat.
During the project, genetic material suitable for organic farming will be identified and propagated. This material will then be subjected to detailed phenotypic analysis to identify combinations of traits suited to organic and low-input production environments including high nutrient efficiency and weed competitiveness/allelopathy. This will culminate in the development of organic strains with improved nutritional quality, agronomy and stress tolerance.
A major priority of the project is for the developed varieties to also exhibit the expected performance in practice and meet high quality standards. As such, participative plant breeding is also part of the project andincorporates the experience and knowledge of organic farmers. Naturland also contributes by sharing its many years of experience in this field. From spring 2020, Naturland will conduct field trials for 8–12 different soya lines and all the crops, including their populations, will be cultivated on a further 3 farms.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation under grant agreement No. 771367. This publication reflects the views of the author alone. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which may be made of the information provided.