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

Spelt wheat

(Triticum spelta L.)

Spelt wheat Spelt wheat Spelt wheat Spelt wheat


Spelt was grown on the East in prehistoric times. It was cultivated for many centuries in Europe - Italy (farro), South Germany (dinkle), Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, England, Poland, and Scandinavian countries. In the Czech Republic spelta was grown in 18th century and used as a coffee substitute.



Nowadays production of spelt wheat increases in Europe, USA, Canada.


Biological Characteristics

Spelt is a hexaploid hulled wheat with bulky root system. Spike is infrequent with awns or awn-less and breaks easily (spikelets with 2-3 seeds). It grows to 100-130 cm.



Spelt is resistant to disease of spike and leaves. Spelt has low nutrition requirements. This plant is valued for its high nutritional value of seed. Spelt wheat shows certain level of resistance to lodging, new varieties especially.


Grain quality and Use

Protein content is between 16-17 %. Spelt wheat has higher content and quality of gluten (35-45 %), higher mineral content (K,S,Mg) It is a rich source of vitamins (B complex), easily digestible, good source of fibre and has positive impact on immune system.


Spelt is used for wide range of products such as husked grains, groats, green grains ('Grünkern'), semolina, flour, spelt bulgur (especially in the Middle East as an ingredient in different vegetable and meat meals - falafel, kibbeh, vegetable salad - tabbouleh) pasta, flakes, müsli, pop spelt, spelt beer, spelt coffee. For its nutty taste, high nutrition value, good digestibility spelt is valuable in bakery and confectionery.




Soil, Climate and Temperature Requirements

Spelt is less demanding than common wheat but enough moisture is essential (germination, emergence, shooting, grain formation). Spelt tolerates even extreme moisture conditions and extreme temperatures (except maturation), resists cold environment and lodging under snow cover. The most suitable soil to grow spelta is middle heavy - heavy soil. Soft, sandy and peaty soils are inappropriate. Spelt has high ability to intake nutrients and is recommended for areas less fitting to wheat.


Cultivation and Manuring

Integration to crop rotation is similar to wheat. The best preceding crop is alfalfa, clover, rape, bean and/or root crops. Cereals as a preceding crops are not desirable. Soil preparation is undemanding, tolerates lumpy soils. Seedbed has to be solid to provide sufficient moisture.


Crop Management


Spelt seed in husk (no treatment) is sown in late September in rate 300-400 seeds per square meter (300 kg.ha-1, peeled seed 180-200 kg. ha-1). Suitable depth is 4-5 cm.


Nutrition and use of fertilizers are the same as wheat crop. Spelt is sensitive to excessive amount of nitrogen causing lodging.

Treatment during growing season

Cultivation during growing season of spelt is very similar to other cereals. Spelt under dry conditions, mainly after sowing, demands application of grooved field-roller and net harrow or rod-like harrow.



Timing of harvest depends on postharvest use. Spelt is harvested either from the milky to waxy phase of maturity for smoked spelt ('Grünkern') or in full maturity. Combine-harvester should be adjusted in order to low losses of grain.


Postharvest Processing and Storage

Spelt should be stored dry with its husk on and separated from impurities. Stored spelt is supposed to be dehusked prior to its processing. The most common method of dehusking is abrading by abrasive wheels. There is some risk of damage of outer layer of the seed.