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.

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Permanganate Oxidizable Carbon Reflects a Processed Soil Fraction that is Sensitive to Management

Author: Steve Culman et al
Date:  March–April 2012
Abstract: Permanganate oxidizable C (POXC; i.e., active C) is a relatively new method that can quantify labile soil C rapidly and inexpensively. Despite limited reports of positive correlations with particulate organic C (POC), microbial biomass C (MBC), and other soil C fractions, little is known about what soil fractions POXC most closely re!ects. We measured POXC across a wide range of soil types, ecosystems, and geographic areas (12 studies, 53 total sites, n = 1379) to: (i) determine the relationship between POXC and POC, MBC and soil organic C (SOC) fractions, and (ii) determine the relative sensitivity of POXC as a labile soil C metric across a range of environmental and management conditions.
Source: SSSAJ: Volume 76: Number 2

Increased Food and Ecosystem Security via Perennial Grains

Author: Jerry D. Glover et al
Source: Science 25 June 2010: Vol. 328 no. 5986 pp. 1638-1639

“Perennial grains hold promise, especially for marginal landscapes or with limited resources where annual versions struggle.”

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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