The Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowlege


Until 1993, the genetic resources of agricultural crops were stored in the working collections of plant breeders of the Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute and in the Vavilovi All-Russian Institute of Genetic Resources (VIR).
In 1999, the Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute (from 2023. The Genebank was established in 2023 by the Plant Breeding Institute of Variety Breeding (RISV), which will become the Centre for Rural Science in 2023.
The Genebank receives material from breeders, hobby breeders and the wild. Seeds of leguminous and herbaceous grasses are collected from natural habitats and their locations are mapped. 



  • Long-term preservation of cereals, forage grasses, legumes, oilseed crops and vegetable seeds.
  • Assessment and characterisation of the preserved material.
  • Collection of seeds from natural habitats and home gardens.
  • Providing free access to users (breeders, biologists, agricultural scientists, gene technologists, other gene banks).
  • The collection contains 3387 items of 66 species.
    The oldest preserves are the ´Sangaste´ (1875) winter rye, the local barley preserves (1908, 1912), the Liplapi bean (1920), the ´Jõgeva 47´ (47th season) common ryegrass and the ´Kehra saagirikas´ (1929) oat.

The viability of seeds stored in the gene bank depends primarily on their initial quality, moisture content and storage temperature.

The moisture content of seeds is slowly reduced, depending on the species, to 3-7 percent. To achieve this, the seeds are stored for 4-10 weeks on the open shelves of the ventilated drying room in paper bags. The air temperature in the room is 15-16°C and the relative humidity of the air is 12-13%. After drying, the seeds are packed in moisture-resistant foil bags and stored in freezers at -18°C.

Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen) and Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserve the most valuable accessions of Estonian origin.

The viability of seeds is determined by checking germination, depending on the species, after 5-15 years. If the germination of seeds is below the prescribed norm or there are few of them in quantity, the material is propagated in a greenhouse or field.


Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge

M. Pilli Branch 1
Jõgeva Village
Jõgeva Municipality
48309 Jõgeva County

Phone: 5345 1468



Külli Annamaa
Head of Department

Phone: 5345 1468

 Vahur Kukk
Chief Specialist

Telephone: 505 8224

Send us a message



    Healthy rare cereals

    The demand for sustainably produced healthy, nutritionally and innovative food is increasing in Europe. Less-grown cereals, such as rye, oats, spelt and single and double grain wheat, meet these requirements both as food and feeders. In particular, these types of cereals have revived interest in the development of organic farming, as they are unassuming and appear to be in healthy qualities in terms of growing conditions.

    Spelt is an unassuming nutrient and, due to its deep roots, is well tolerated by a number of unfavourable growing conditions such as nutrient impairments and droppings. At the same time, the nutritional value of spelt is high, it has a higher content of lipids, unsaturated fatty acids and trace elements (Fe, Zn, Mg and P) compared with the disease. Single Grain wheat is a diploid wheat, which was cultivated in ancient mesoptaamias. This wheat form has a higher content of protein, trace elements and essential amino acids. Two-grain wheat is an ancient tetraploid wheat that was grown already 10 thousand years ago. This is an unassuming culture in terms of agro-technics and growing conditions. Its grains have less gluten and more fiber than normal wheat, contains antioxidants. The products made from wheat in two grains are good tasting. Rye and oats are more common than the above wheat species and are used as food and feedstuffs. Rye bread has a better digestor when it was made of wheat. Rye contains more minerals compared to wheat (zinc, iron, selenium) and essential amino acids. The healthy properties of oats stem in particular from its protein and fats are of high quality and soluble fiber content. The latter lower cholesterol levels in the blood, help regulate blood sugar.
    The 7th European Union The ' healthy, underused cereals ' project is intended to aim for the diversification of the above-mentioned cereal base for varietal breeding, their stress tolerance, the improvement of agro-technics and the nutritional value and Improving the quality of food-fruit processing. The project is coordinated by the Czech Crop Research Institute, which also participates as a partner in the Estonian Crop Sciences Institute. The project started on 2013. A and lasts five years. During this period, a series of breeding and agronomic tests, processing, quality and market surveys shall be carried out. The main objective of the project is to contribute to increasing the cultivation and consumption of less common cereals in Europe

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