Nitrogen strategies in organic milling winter wheat

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Production of premium quality

Project resonsible: Lena Engström, Department of Soil and Environment, SLU.

Project group: Sofia Delin, Department of Soil and Environment, SLU; Ann-Charlotte Wallenhammar, Rural Economy and Agricultural Society, Örebro and Per Ståhl, Rural Economy and Agricultural Society, Vreta Kloster.

Application of fertilizers approved for organic farming can be hazardous, since the nitrogen may not be available for the crop in time before the end of nitrogen uptake. This could lead to not high enough protein content and a risk for nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions to the environment. A strategy for application of organic fertilizers to achieve the desired protein levels and to avoid losses to the environment is therefore needed.

The objectives of this study are to evaluate different application strategies of organic fertilizers to obtain a high yield and bread quality in organic winter wheat production. Split application and different times for top dressing of selected organic fertilizers will be tested in field experiments, with and without irrigation. 


The demand for organically produced products are increasing, including bread wheat. However, the protein concentration in organically produced winter wheat is often too low to qualify for premium quality (>10.5%) and concentrations as low as 8% are not unusual. Higher protein content, preferably 12%, demands more nitrogen available for the crop during the later phases of nutrient uptake (GS37-50) and may require late application of N-fertilizers.