History Present Biological Charakteristics Attributes Grain Quality and Use
Soil, Climate and Temperature Requirements Cultivation and Manuring Crop Management Harvest Postharvest Processing and Storage


(Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.)

Common buckwheat Common buckwheat Common buckwheat Common buckwheat


Buckwheat is an old cultivated plant originating in China and spread to Japan, Europe and North America. This crop has been grown in regions of the Czech republic from 12th century, traditionally in the Tesin area, Wallachia and in Beskydy Mountains. In 16th century buckwheat was very popular food. Czech Sudetiens used buckwheat for its ability to eradicate weeds mainly before sowing of flax. During last centuries this crop has become neglected. In Slovakia buckwheat used to be grown as an intercrop often under irrigation.



At present the Czech Ministry of Agriculture does not register the growing areas of buckwheat so they have been estimated only. The area of conventionally grown buckwheat is about 2000 ha. There are about 3000 ha of conventional and organic buckwheat (0,12 % of total crop area), which is the largest ever in both, Czech and former Czechoslovak history. The interest in buckwheat growing has arisen in last decades and become one of the most important crops in organic farming. In contrast to the conventional farming, the area and production of organic buckwheat are recorded. The organic buckwheat area increases rapidly year-by-year. Nowadays the Czech Republic is a very important producer of organic buckwheat in Europe. In the year 2001, the sowing area of organic buckwheat was over 900 ha (0,036 % of total crop area). The average yield about 1 ton per hectare is the same in both, conventional and organic farming. In the rest of Europe buckwheat is grown in Austria, Belarus, northern Croatia, Denmark, northwestern France, Poland, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine.


Biological Characteristics

Buckwheat is an annual plant with reddish stem and ability to grow up to 1.5-1.2 m. Its flowers are tine, white or pinkish in colour and heteromorphous. 7-9 flowers are gathered in one inflorescence. Seeds are fully mature after 35-45 days from pollination, which depends on temperature. Buckwheat seed is usually trihedral and generally its shape and colour depend on variety.



Buckwheat is a very reach source of natural rutin, makes immunity stronger, and increases artery elasticity. It is able to regulate blood coagulability and amount of cholesterol in blood stream. Buckwheat is suitable for diabetics and people suffering from celiac disease and patients having problems with digestion system.


Grain quality and Use

The protein content (10-14 %) is similar to other cereals but its quality is much better. Buckwheat has very low content of prolamines, which is required for gluten sensitive individuals. Grain has balanced amount of amino acids (mainly high and balanced content of lysine, methionine and cysteine) and high biological value. Lysine content is 3-4 times higher in comparison with other cereals (wheat - 2.6%). The amount of starch in dry buckwheat grain varies from 55 to 70 % and its quality differs from starch content in other cereals. Lipid content is low (1.5-3.7 %) and the most of it is located in germ. For health high content of unsaturated fatty acids is important - especially the biggest portion of them falls on essential linoleic acid (37-48 %) that together with linolenic acid lower cholesterol in blood and prevent arteriosclerosis. Buckwheat and products made out of it have 3.4-5.2 % dietary fibre (20-30 % is soluble). Buckwheat is an important source of zinc, copper, selenium, magnesium and other microelements. Grain contains mainly vitamin B1 - thiamine (in aleuronic layer), B2 - riboflavin (endosperm in the vicinity of germ), niacin (outer layers) and vitamin E (pollen). It is valuable source of natural rutin increasing elasticity and permeability of blood capillaries. Rutin has protective effect to UV radiation, enhance effect of vitamin C and lowers high blood pressure. The highest concentration of this bioflavonoid is in leaves prior to flowering.


Buckwheat programme PRO-BIO, s r.o., Staré Město pod Sněžníkem

Average annual production increase of 'bio' buckwheat is 40-60 %. Czech domestic market includes more than 20 different products made from 'bio' buckwheat (buckwheat grain, husked buckwheat grains - groats, grits, semolina and flour, flakes, buckwheat-spelta pasta. Conventionally grown buckwheat is used for making bread and confectionary products.

The aim of the programme is developing collaboration among growers, processors, marketers, researches, doctors and consumers.



Buckwheat tea; pillow filling.


Soil, Climate and Temperature Requirements

Buckwheat is termophile plant. Optimum growth temperature is around 15°C and requires more moisture then wheat and barley. Enough moisture is essential in the first flowering period and seed development stage. Buckwheat does not require special soil to be successfully grown. The most suitable soils are lighter, sandy or loamy soils.


Cultivation and Manuring

Buckwheat tolerates any preceding crop but those leaving soil weedy. It can be sown as a second crop after short-season crops. Buckwheat itself is considered as a preceding crop with phytosanitary effect. Pre-sowing soil preparation is similar to common spring cereals but no more than 50 mm deep.


Crop Management


Fields should be sown with buckwheat in first decade of May so that it emerges after Cold Days (12-14th May). Sowing is better to be performed in depth of 3-5 cm in row distance 15-25 cm oriented north - south in order to provide as much light for each plant as possible. Sowing rate ranges from 40 to 80 kg per hectare so that one square meter is covered with 150-200 plants.


Buckwheat has a very active root system supporting easier release of nutrients from the soil, mainly phosphorus. This crop requires sufficient amount of potassium increasing yield and seed quality. Application of a combined fertiliser (NPK) at rate 200-300 kg per hectare is recommended. Buckwheat does not tolerate chlorine that can cause leaf spot, dwarfing and plants are easy to break. Similar symptoms can occur under boron deficiency.

Treatment during growing season

No special treatments are applied during growing season except hoeing if needed. Hives provided near to the field have a very positive impact on pollination.



It is important to realise that flowering period of buckwheat is as irregular as it matures, which increases the losses during harvest. The best harvest time is at the stage of maturity of two thirds of seeds (fully coloured). The speed of thrash drum in harvester has to be adjusted to lower turns (760 turns per minute for dry and 900 turns per minute for wet buckwheat). Buckwheat yields 1-2 tons per hectare.


Postharvest Processing and Storage

Seeds have to be separated from impurities and the rests of stems and leaves as soon as possible. Harvested crop is necessary to be dried up on 14 % of seed moistness by common ventilation or warm air (60-65 °C) so that seed temperature does not exceed 40-45 °C.

Common buckwheat - dehulled buckwheat