The demand for local organic food is steadily increasing throughout Vermont and New England. Consumers are asking for bread baked with locally grown wheat; however, bakers have been slow to incorporate local wheat flour because of the challenges associated with obtaining grains that consistently meet bread-baking standards. Addressing the quality issue is essential for expanding the bread flour market in the northeast. One of the major quality factors facing Vermont grain producers is protein content. Much of the winter wheat currently produced in Vermont has protein levels below what most commercial mills would consider suitable for flour production. Commercial mills prefer to buy wheat with crude protein (CP) concentrations of 12-15%. Higher protein levels generally improve baking characteristics. In 2012, the University of Vermont Extension established a trial at Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh, VT to evaluate if winter wheat yield and protein could be improved by topdressing with various organic nitrogen (N) sources at key developmental stages. This trial is one of several in a USDA Organic Research Education Initiative grant focused on the production of high quality organic bread wheat in New England.
Vermont, University of Vermont
Darby, Heather; Cummings, Erica; Harwood, Hannah; Madden, Rosalie; and Monahan, Susan, "The Effects of Topdressing Organic Nitrogen on Hard Red Winter Wheat" (2012). Northwest Crops & Soils Program. 256.