Michigan State works to advance perennial wheat

Michigan State – with the $1 million grant that it has recently won is joining the well-know Washington State University and The Land Institute to create a line perennial grains. Success at Michigan State and these other institutions has been resonating with farmers to save them time, money and resources. 

Author: James Prichard, Associate Press
Date: September 2009

As Steve Culman squatted in the southwestern Michigan farm field, he used his left hand to gently clasp several dead wheat stalks still in the ground, then pointed with his right toward something remarkable near the bottom of them.

There were new sprouts of wheat, emerging shortly after the summer harvest.

Culman is a researcher at Michigan State University, which recently won a four-year $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to further the development of a new type of wheat that would help reduce soil erosion while saving growers money, time and labor.

Read the full story here. 

Perennial Wheat: A new option for organic and sustainable farm systems

Author: Sieglinde Snapp, Steve Culman, Lee DeHann, John Green, Stephen Jones, Janet Lewis, Vicki Morrone, Dan Rossman, Martin Nagelkirk, Scott Swinton, Sienna Tinsley, Anne Weir
Affiliation: 
Michigan State University, Michigan State University Extension, The Land Institute, and Washington State University
Abstract: A new perennial crop is being explored for opportunities on organic and sustainable farms. The overall goal to grow this crop is to improve farms and protect the environment (Glover et al., 2010). Successful establishments crop requires it to be replanted only once in three years (see figure below). As a perennial crop, it provides greater soil coverage and an extensive rooting system, compared to an annual grain. These factors are the foundation for building soil in organic farming. The perennial wheat team integrates the work from plant breeders, economists, cropping systems scientists and ecologists with farmers and Extension educators to identify useful plant lines and management approaches with the greatest potential for success in a Upper Midwest organic farm systems. The team has set a goal to find stable varieties within five years, depending on plant regrowth and seed production. We are evaluating this crop for multiple uses including grain, forage and environmental services.
Source: pwheat.anr.msu.edu/upload_max_filesize=32m/2012/01/pwheat-extension-poster1.pdf