Welcome to Perennial Grains

That root system represents something far bigger than itself: Soil health. Perennial plants build soil and protect against erosion in ways annual plants and their skimpy root structures simply cannot.

The Roots of Perennial Wheat


New Roots for Ecological Intensification Program Meeting

Estes Park, Colorado | October 27-31

Perennial Fields 058

Perennial Wheat Field Days at KBS

This week is dedicated to developing discussions about perennial grain breeding strategies and future research directions. Discussions will be geared toward wheat, sorghum, kernza, rice and oilseed crops, specifically targeting the design and management of perennial polycultures.

Researchers from diverse backgrounds will present cross-discipline research topics including perennial challenges, funding and microbiomes in plant breeding. And while the workshop is filled, look forward to the perennial grain report following the session.


Upcoming Symposium: Perennial Grains Around the World

Long Beach, California | November 2-5

Burgeoning interest in perennial crops led to a number of new programs worldwide. This Long Beach, CA symposium provides information on recent findings about perennials and addresses challenges in economic and agricultural contexts.

Whether you’re a part of a small farm or a larger, corporate operation, perennial grains can provide a range of ecosystem services. Join us for a global perspective.

For a full list of participants and session agendas, visit the symposium site. The session is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.

See the Perennial Grain Development flyer.


below: PERENNIAL WHEAT fields at KBS

Who We Are
This blog is a place for the Perennial Wheat Team to share resources with one other. Members of this group include world-wide researchers and specialists, but are primarily composed of the following institutions:

What We Do
Please share your research, academic, and educational materials with others in the field through the Perennial Wheat blog. Please email blog administrator Vicki Morrone, MSU Organic Outreach Specialist, at sorrone@msu.edu with materials that you are willing to share on the blog. And please comment on others’ posts by clicking the green speech bubble next to each post.

What is Perennial Wheat?
Perennial wheat lines are formed using the conventional breeding technique of selecting varieties of perennial wheat and crossing them with perennial rye. The goal is to achieve a crop that establishes well in the field while also producing a marketable head of grain. Please see the research poster Perennial Wheat: A new option for organic and sustainable farm systems, which provides an overview of research being conducted by the major institutions in this endeavor.
4 Seasons of Wheat
Perennial wheat is highly relevant to Michigan farmers, as well as other areas of the northern United States, because of its multi-season use, ability to prevent erosion and protect fragile soils, and longevity in terms of growth. The participation and support of farmers, such as through a willingness to test the crop in cultivated fields and share their experiences, is essential to the success and improvement of this crop.

Currently, there are over 100 lines of perennial wheat, however, only a handful of lines show promise to grow as a perennial crop. Ongoing efforts continue to make crosses in pursuit of hardy varieties of perennial wheat that thrive in many conditions. There are many answers to be found, and more questions to be asked, regarding perennial wheat:

  • Field Establishment: Is perennial wheat able to compete with weeds? Can it grow with other crops?
  • Regrowth: Since it is a perennial, can it withstand temperate winters and produce growth the following season?
  • Grain usage: Is the grain of a food-grade flour quality?
  • Stalk and stover: Is the quality adequate as animal feed?
  • Processing: Can the grain be hulled and cleaned to a millable quality?