The promise of Kernza

Kernza is a long-rooted wheatgrass that may become the revolution in agriculture.

“All grain production in the world is produced by annual plants that are only on the landscape for a short time,” says University of Minnesota agronomy professor Donald Wyse. “Intermediate wheatgrass — Kernza — represents a big breakthrough in the design of new agricultural systems for the future.”

Since Kernza is a perennial farmers do not have to harvest, till the soil, and replanted each year. Its long roots enable it to store nutrients, make it drought-tolerant, and store more greenhouse gases than annual plants. It is also high in bran and a good habitat for pollinators.

While there are a few artisan bakeries and at least one brewer that use Kernza, there is still work that needs to be done before Kernza can become commercial no a large scale. That is why General Mills is teaming with the University of Minnesota and Kernza developer, The Land Institute, to further develop the crop. They hope to have large-scale commercial products on the shelf in a year.

For more see: Kernza

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