The morpho-physiological and genetic characterization of ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer has shown that this population is distinct from other landraces and is composed of different genotypes (Torricelli et al. 2002, 2009). In the area of Monteleone di Spoleto (Umbria Region) emmer is cultivated on about 120 hectares. On average, the total production of ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer is assumed to be 180 t per year and half of this production comes from just a single farm. Traditionally, emmer is used as whole grain for soups. However, product diversification developed in recent years has made it possible to increase income from emmer cultivation. Emmer is now processed in order to obtain flour, which allows farmers to produce and sell a wide variety of processed products such as biscuits, cakes, pasta, flakes, soups and many bread types (Torricelli et al. 2009).
‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer is characterised by a typical spring habitus; plants height is circa 100 cm (it must be less than 120 cm); the spike is relatively small, flat and awned and, at maturity, it is characterised by a typical whitish colour. Hulls are adherent to the caryopsis. Seeds are characterised by a light-brown colour; the seed colour is typical to this landrace, and subsequently gives to the processed products such as the flour a characteristic dark aspect.
The sowing is carried out mechanically from the 1st of February to the 10th of May using 120-150 kg/ha of seeds, sown by broadcasting or in rows. Generally, the emmer wheat is grown within a rotation system with: i) pulses (lentil, chickpea and pea), ii) legume forages (alfalfa) or iii) meadow grass.
Cultivation System: low-input conditions.
The cultivation of ‘Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto’ is carried out in the mountain area (above 700 m a.s.l.) located in the south-east part of the Province of Perugia (Umbria Region, Italy) and comprises the territories belonging to the following municipalities: Cascia, Sant’Anatolia di Narco, Vallo di Nera and Scheggino.
Within the production area, farmers that cultivate ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer are grouped in an association named ‘Association of Monteleone di Spoleto Emmer’. They carry out cultivation following the guidelines established by ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO) label. Generally, the farms are smaller than 20 ha. Recently, also bigger farms are cultivating the ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer, as the market interest for the derived/processed product is growing.
Propagation system: Seed, self-pollinationMultiplication procedures and consequences on landrace diversity:
The seeds used for sowing the following year are produced in the highest part of the area of Monteleone (around 1,000 m a.s.l.). To the purpose, seeds are collected as bulk without applying any selection and subsequently treated (if necessary and according to management system) within the farms.
The multiplication procedure without the application of any conscious selection ensures ‘Monteleone Emmer Wheat’ adaptation to the cultivation area and preservation of the useful within population genetic diversity.Management plan existence:
The landrace management relies completely on farming activities in the area. Currently, no technical or scientific support is given.
Local income from this LR can be estimated around 250,000 €. Nowadays, the ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer has undergone a successful marketing strengthening thanks to some farmers’ initiatives. In October 2002 seven local farmers constituted themselves into the ‘Association of Monteleone di Spoleto Emmer’.Others (e.g. commercial/geographical brands or special traits):
The landrace is included into the Regional Register of Landraces, implementing the Umbria Region Law concerning the protection of local genetic resources (n. 25, 2001).
The ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer also holds the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) label and represents a good example of successful use of territorial labels for the promotion of a product obtained from a landrace.
The technical/scientific and the financial support given by the University of Perugia and the Umbria Region respectively has been fundamental for the valorisation and the conservation on-farm of the landrace. The Association of ‘Monteleone di Spoleto Emmer’, under the scientific and technical guidance of the University of Perugia, the collaboration of various agriculture associations and funding of local institutions (in particular the Umbria Region, within a plan of valorisation of agro-biodiversity), obtained the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label (July, 2010).
Accessions of ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer wheat are also kept, under long terms storage conditions in the germplasm bank of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science of The University of Perugia (FAO ITA-363).
The multiplication strategy would allow to maintain on-farm a broad diversity as each farmer reproduce seed for the following year within the farm. This would maintain the within population genetic diversity within each farm, theoretically giving to each population slightly different adaptational abilities.
Currently, no further support is given by the institutions as the market of ‘Monteleone di Spoleto’ emmer is profitable and generates a positive income for the farmers that are conserving this landrace.
Case study prepared by Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali (DSA3), Università degli Studi di Perugia (UNIPG), Italy.
Most of updates have been communicated by Dr R Torricelli (Università degli Studi di Perugia).
- Torricelli R, Porfiri O, Falcinelli M, Petrillo S (2002) L’età del farro.
- Torricelli R, Quintaliani L, Falcinelli M (2009) The ‘Farro’ (Triticum dicoccon Schrank) from Monteleone di Spoleto (Valnerina Valley, Umbria). In: Vetelainen M, Negri V, Maxted N (eds) European landraces on-farm conservation, management and use. Bioversity Technical Bulletin No. 15. Biodiversity International, Rome, Italy, pp 183–186