In 1930, the Agricultural Representative and Control Station was founded (the precursor to the Agricultural Institute Osijek) and in 1931 prof.dr.sc. Mirko Korić started working on breeding wheat. Osiječka Šišulja, which started production in 1936, is his most famous variety of wheat, which was planted for about 20 years on 100 000 – 500 000 ha per year. In the mid 1950s, prof.dr.sc. Mato Valenčić extended that work to barley. The Department for Breeding Wheat and/or Barley employed and employs: prof.dr.sc. Z. Mađarić (1945 – 1980), prof.dr.sc. J. Martinčić (1961 – 1992), prof.dr.sc. M. Bede (1971 – 1993), prof.dr.sc. J. Kovačević (1975 – 1997), prof.dr.sc. G. Drezner, doc.dr.sc. A. Lalić, dr.sc. D. Novoselović, dr.sc. K. Dvojković, dr.sc. V. Španić, and dr.sc. I. Abičić. The work on the quality of wheat was done and is done by: Olga Kalea, dipl.inž., dr.sc. D. Hackenberger (1977 – 1994), and dr.sc. D. Horvat (2003 – 2016), K. Lutrov, dipl.inž, and for barley, dr.sc. G. Šimić.
As part of the work at the Department of Plant Breeding and Small Cereal Crop Genetics (former Department of Plant Breeding and Small Cereal Crop Seed Production and Processing), we created 148 varieties of winter wheat, 79 varieties of winter and 42 variey of spring barley recognised in Croatia, as well as 67 varieties of wheat and 38 varieties of barley recognised internationally. In the last 25 years, our wheat varieties have been planted on 35-63%, and barley varieties on 70% of the planting surfaces in Croatia, and a significant amount of planting surfaces abroad.
Based on the scientific and research work at the Department, we implemented and are implementing significant scientific projects; we completed and published numerous scientific and professional papers; written two books, one university textbook, several chapters in books, about ten dissertations, master, diploma, and final papers. The Department conducts international cooperation through professional visits, study visits, scientific training from the Institute funds, as well as through prestigious international scholarships (Fulbright, Go8 European, Ceepus, KWS Borlaug, and others), and active participation in international scientific meetings in the area of genetics, plant breeding, quality, and seed production and processing for small cereals.
Along with their regular work, the scientists from the Department have participated and/or are participating in teaching activities in the area of genetics, plant breeding, seed production and processing, and cereal production at the Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek, and the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Technology of the University of Mostar. The important segment in the transfer of acquired knowledge, achieved results, and the experience in breeding and production of small cereals are the lectures designed for family-run agricultural farms and the contact with the professional public through the media. The scientists from the Department received numerous awards and recognitions for their results achieved in scientific and research work and plant breeding (Ruđer Bošković, Nikola Tesla, City of Osijek, State Award for Science, for advancing production, for the best junior researcher in the Republic of Croatia…).