Donate Bitcoin

Donate Paypal


PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 02 Jun 2018, 06:54:02

vox_mundi wrote:Perennial wheat is an ecologist’s dream. Soon it may be what’s for dinner.

The grain is Kernza, a new breed of wheat. Unlike the usual varieties, it is perennial, which means it grows back in subsequent years rather than being sown each spring. That matters because over time, the plant develops a deep, dense root system that helps to build healthy soil and to keep carbon in the soil, a counter to climate change. No wonder perennial grains have long been the holy grail for a certain set of agroecologists (visionaries or eco-weenies, depending on your perspective).

The commercial availability of Kernza is something of a dream come true for the academics who have long evangelized perennial grains. Here in the United States, its main proponents are at the Kansas-based Land Institute, where it was developed. Co-founder Wes Jackson first became an advocate of perennial crops in the 1970s after noting a difference between the soils on agricultural lands and those in the native tallgrass prairies.

Over the years, the Land Institute has worked to develop a variety of perennials: rice, which is now being tested in China; sunflowers, for oil; and sorghum. Kernza was spearheaded by plant geneticist Lee DeHaan, who as a child in the early 1980s became captivated by Jackson’s vision and joined the Land Institute in 2001. The plant is a strain of intermediate wheatgrass, a distant cousin of what we know as wheat. (The name, which is trademarked by the Land Institute, is entirely invented, a combination of “kern” from kernel and “za” from Konza, the Native American word from which Kansas was derived.)

From an environmental perspective, Kernza does all the things that annual wheat does not. It sends a cloud of roots as deep as 10 feet into the ground. That underground network holds soil in place, which prevents erosion, and can quickly absorb water and nutrients. According to one study, second-year Kernza reduced soil moisture, and it reduced nitrate leaching by 86 percent or more compared with annual wheat. (Nitrate, a soluble form of nitrogen, can poison groundwater and is one of the chemicals responsible for creating the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zones, low-oxygen areas where fish and other marine life cannot survive.)
Left to its own devices, intermediate wheatgrass funnels energy into its roots and leaves, rather than its seed, which is the part we eat. So DeHaan has worked hard to coax Kernza to create a larger one. Over the last six years, DeHaan has doubled the size of the seed. But it is still only one-quarter the size of a conventional wheat berry. Kernza also has less gluten — the levels are akin to what you might find in barley flour — and that makes it a challenging ingredient for bread, which is how many of us consume much of our wheat.

Image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinopyrum_intermedium


Land Institute: Kernza® Grain: Toward a Perennial Agriculture

Got Kernza®? Want Kernza®?

If you are a farmer interested in growing Kernza or a baker, miller, brewer, or chef interested in purchasing Kernza seed or flour, please contact Plovgh.

Plovgh (pronounced “plow”) contracts with The Land Institute to help match Kernza consumers with farmers so our scientists can focus on research. All farmers growing Kernza® enter into a license agreement for use of the Kernza® trademark in the sale of the grain.


Progress is being made in turning Kernza into a real crop grown by real farmers instead of just research institutions.

Kernza Update

On a splendid May day, Valentin Picasso is visiting tests of a crop called kernza at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station north of Madison. As a perennial, kernza must survive the winter, and that is what the assistant professor of agronomy at University of Wisconsin–Madison is checking.

Developing kernza is part of a vision to shift an agricultural economy reliant on “till-plant-harvest and repeat,” toward a one-time tilling and planting, followed by harvesting forage and grain for years or decades. The forage – hay — can be baled or fed directly to cattle in the spring and fall.

Annual crops require annual tillage, which often leaves the soil bare all winter and into the spring. Although no-tillage techniques and cover crops can provide some soil cover, perennial crops and forages are the ultimate long-term solution to soil erosion, Picasso says. Once planted, perennial kernza covers soil year-round without the cost of further tillage.

At more than 300 small plots at Arlington, Picasso is testing kernza with variables such as planting dates, seed varieties, and the effect of leguminous companion crops like alfalfa.

Kernza, generically intermediate wheat grass, was developed by the Land Institute, a Kansas environmental non-profit that trademarked the brand “kernza.” Those who sell seeds under that name must pay royalties; seeds of the same crop, sold as intermediate wheatgrass, are exempt from royalty.
An auspicious plan

The interest in intermediate wheatgrass, and other perennials like silphium and lupine, reflects a small-scale effort to reverse what Picasso wryly calls “a little mistake at the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago.” The decision to domesticate annual plants instead of perennials can leave bare soil prone to erosion and allow soil and nutrients to run off in the rain, causing water pollution.

To date, kernza breeders at the Land Institute and the University of Minnesota have used time-tested approaches such as selecting and replanting the largest seeds, to turn an idea into a crop. No genetic modification technologies are used.

Although the grain yield of the new crop cannot compete with corn or soybeans, its yield has tripled in just 10 years, Picasso says, to a maximum of 900 pounds of grain per acre in Wisconsin fields.

“Kernza is only in the fourth cycle of selection, and we have been selecting the major crops for at least 5,000 years,” he says. “In another 10 years, we expect to see a much higher yield that will look more like a traditional crop, with the advantage of being perennial.”

Kernza leaves and stems have a high nutritive value for cattle, especially in spring and fall, which makes it more valuable to farmers as a dual-purpose (grain and forage) crop.

Picasso is working on several research questions about the new crop:

Forage quality and production;
Companion crops: Most of Picasso’s kernza plots live amidst alfalfa or another legume, to further shelter the soil, supply nitrogen to the kernza, and avoid a monoculture friendly to pathogens and insects.
Grain production: Even though kernza survives at least 20 years, grain production tapers off quickly after the first year or two. Picasso is looking for a strategy to sustain the yield.

Kernza does not flower and set seed the first year, because it needs to endure winter before flowering, but that could change in a crop that is still genetically malleable. While leaving the farm, Picasso points out where he gathered seeds from a hundred-odd plants that, strangely, did produce grain the same year they were planted. He is planting these unusual seeds in a new experiment aimed at developing a crop that can produce grain even before a winter.

Forages are extremely valuable, but their economic contribution is difficult to measure, Picasso says. The total value of marketed hay and related products in Wisconsin was $816 million in 2017, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, “but that does not come close to the full value of forages, as this is only forage that is sold. Most forages are grown and fed on the same farm, and therefore not counted.”
Forages supply dairy, beef feed

A comprehensive estimate of the value of forages would consider that at least half of dairy and beef feed comes from hay such as alfalfa. In reality, Picasso says, “If you want to estimate the value, you should also add the economic value of clean water, and maintaining soil and biodiversity.”

Although Picasso says the kernza project is “in the infancy of research,” he adds that, “Wisconsin’s climate and soil are ideal, and the research benefits from a strong tradition of agricultural research.”

At field days at the Lancaster and Arlington Research Stations, Picasso adds, “farmers are really excited about kernza. There’s already some on-farm research, which I think will grow in the near future. We still have dairy farmers who know how to grow and graze crops, who know how to produce forage and grain, and are open-minded about trying new things.”
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14817
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 02 Jun 2018, 07:03:45

In 1982 I visited Wes Jackson within a year or two after he started the Land Institute. I was living in Salina Kansas back then and heard about his vision of perennial crops and was intrigued enough that a couple friends and I went out to see him and he gave us an hour tour and shared his vision. That was 37 years ago! Really amazing that the Land Institute has persevered all these years and may one day yield (no pun intended) viable perennial grain.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 6425
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby dohboi » Sat 02 Jun 2018, 07:12:21

I'm jealous, Ibon!

But kernza is already available. A local coop brewery just made a beer with it.
User avatar
dohboi
Harmless Drudge
Harmless Drudge
 
Posts: 17483
Joined: Mon 05 Dec 2005, 03:00:00

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 02 Jun 2018, 07:22:42

dohboi wrote:I'm jealous, Ibon!

But kernza is already available. A local coop brewery just made a beer with it.



I meant "viable" in the economic sense as a major crop replacement to annual wheat requiring tilling of the soil.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 6425
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby dohboi » Sat 02 Jun 2018, 07:58:05

Ah, yeah, it would be nice to have numbers on this. It sounds like, since the yields still drops off significantly after the first few years, there will be a while to go before this is widely adapted.

It does sound like some major food companies are buying 'significant quantities' of the grain already:

"General Mills agrees. The food giant has committed to buying a significant quantity of Kernza for use in its Cascadian Farm line of organic cereal products"

(I wish they would give specific amounts so we can know what is meant by 'significant' here. Anyone with more specific data, please do share!)

http://www.startribune.com/a-new-grain- ... 450447673/
User avatar
dohboi
Harmless Drudge
Harmless Drudge
 
Posts: 17483
Joined: Mon 05 Dec 2005, 03:00:00

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby asg70 » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 00:19:57

Good news. Someone should work on developing a hardier version of quinoa, which is the grain everyone wants to eat these days. Hard to grow outside of its original andean climate.
[space to store bad short-term prediction currently vacant]
asg70
Heavy Crude
Heavy Crude
 
Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun 05 Feb 2017, 13:17:28

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 10:14:28

asg70 wrote:Good news. Someone should work on developing a hardier version of quinoa, which is the grain everyone wants to eat these days. Hard to grow outside of its original andean climate.

Nobody 'developes' these grains, they are heirlooms chosen for their intrinsic properties.

Though for the life of me I don't see how anyone chooses quinoa. It has no taste and is soggy.
November 2016
pstarr
NeoMaster
NeoMaster
 
Posts: 27344
Joined: Mon 27 Sep 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Behind the Redwood Curtain

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 11:19:21

"Developing kernza is part of a vision to shift an agricultural economy reliant on “till-plant-harvest and repeat,” toward a one-time tilling and planting, followed by harvesting forage and grain for years or decades. The forage – hay — can be baled or fed directly to cattle in the spring and fall."

From the article above
User avatar
dohboi
Harmless Drudge
Harmless Drudge
 
Posts: 17483
Joined: Mon 05 Dec 2005, 03:00:00

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 13:51:07

pstarr wrote:
asg70 wrote:Good news. Someone should work on developing a hardier version of quinoa, which is the grain everyone wants to eat these days. Hard to grow outside of its original andean climate.

Nobody 'developes' these grains, they are heirlooms chosen for their intrinsic properties.

Though for the life of me I don't see how anyone chooses quinoa. It has no taste and is soggy.


Quinoa is one of my favorite grains and is delicious. Never look at any food as a replacement to something else otherwise you will be disappointed. Vegie burgers suck for example.

Quinoa is wonderful when you use that sogginess to its advantage and not try to make it some kind of cool rice. Recipes that use polenta would be great with Quinoa for example.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 6425
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 14:42:21

Ibon, I will give it a try again. Very trendy among the foodie crowd which makes me suspicious lol

Folks are now growing quinoa here on Humboldt Bay. I think its because the weather here is like the weather at 11,000 ft in the Andes? Always around 55 degrees, all year.

My wife worked at Rodale Press in the 1980's when these crops were investigated at the research farm. Rodale apparently chose the kernza wheat among 100 other perennial grains. Nice idea but it doesn't work. Too bad
November 2016
pstarr
NeoMaster
NeoMaster
 
Posts: 27344
Joined: Mon 27 Sep 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Behind the Redwood Curtain

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby asg70 » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 20:37:20

pstarr wrote:Though for the life of me I don't see how anyone chooses quinoa. It has no taste and is soggy.


Well, gee, if you don't like it then nobody else should value it. Narcissism 101.

pstarr wrote:Nice idea but it doesn't work. Too bad


Yep always throw your hands up and proclaim that it "doesn't work", because the doom train must NOT be stopped.
[space to store bad short-term prediction currently vacant]
asg70
Heavy Crude
Heavy Crude
 
Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun 05 Feb 2017, 13:17:28

Re: Kernza aka Perennial Wheat

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 03 Jun 2018, 21:03:53

asg70 wrote:
pstarr wrote:Though for the life of me I don't see how anyone chooses quinoa. It has no taste and is soggy.


Well, gee, if you don't like it then nobody else should value it. Narcissism 101.

pstarr wrote:Nice idea but it doesn't work. Too bad


Yep always throw your hands up and proclaim that it "doesn't work", because the doom train must NOT be stopped.
are you drunk? Off you meds?

Didn't you see my subsequent post, where I offered to revisit the stuff? It might even taste good, though mouthfeel is equally important.

And about the failure/success of perennial grains; they seem unable to compete in the marketplace because they can't in the farmers' fields. Perenials will always be outcompeted by windblown weeds.
November 2016
pstarr
NeoMaster
NeoMaster
 
Posts: 27344
Joined: Mon 27 Sep 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Behind the Redwood Curtain


Return to Environment, Weather & Climate

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 29 guests