Because of the niche character of organic production, grain quality plays a very important role in price determination. The price premium attached to a certified organic crop is often linked with a demand for a high-quality end product. But organic production is our region faces many challenges: low moisture, limited sources of fertility that can all dramatically impact grain quality.
Grain Quality Research
Does Organic Production Result in Lower Protein Content?
Environmental conditions impact grain quality parameters. For example, soil available nitrogen can affect protein content. Do organic management practices result in lower protein content? If that’s the case, is the end product quality at risk? Researchers from Washington State University and Montana State University compared quality of organic versus conventional wheat. Their findings on protein content are presented in this post.
The Bread Lab
The Washington State University Bread Lab Plant Breeding Program conducts research on thousands of lines of wheat, barley, buckwheat, and other small grains to identify those that perform well for farmers, and that are most suitable for craft baking, cooking, malting, brewing, and distilling. Selecting for flavor, nutrition, and distinctive characteristics, samples of the most promising varieties are brought into the Bread Lab for analysis to determine the product that best utilizes and manifests their unique characteristics.
The Bread Lab began in 2011 in a small laboratory in the Washington State University Mount Vernon Research Center. Today it occupies 12,000 square feet at the Port of Skagit and includes the Bread Lab research and baking kitchen, a cytology lab, and the King Arthur Flour Baking School at the Bread Lab.