Perennial Grains and Grass Conference in Madison Wisconsin, Nov 28 & 29, 2017

Green Lands Blue Waters

Register now for the Green Lands Blue Waters 2017 Conference, Nov. 28th & 29th in Madison, WI.

We expect this conference to reach capacity! Book your spot now.


Join GLBW and our hosts at UW-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) for this year’s annual conference focused on “Continuous Living Cover: Bridging the Gaps with Livestock.”


Find the full agenda and conference details here, including:


Plenary sessions on the economic and environmental benefits of Continuous Living Cover Farming:


Livestock as Economic Drivers of Continuous Living Cover

Tuesday, November 28th

How does Continuous Living Cover Restore our Landscape?
Wednesday, November 29th

What’s your 2025 Vision for Continuous Living Cover FarmingJoin us in Madison and be part of the conversation!

Aaron Reser
Watershed Initiative Coordinator, Green Lands Blue Waters
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
University of Minnesota
411 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108-6026

Phone: 612.625.4806



Michigan State University hosted Intermediate Wheat Grass Field Days

Note the size difference between intermediate wheat grass (left) and annual wheat (right) kernels. Breeders at The Land Institute are working to increase grain size and yield.

Hampshire Farms Jersey girls are enjoying their first day on the intermediate wheat grass pasture, Oct 30, 2017.

Simple butter cookies made from 2/3 intermediate wheat grass flour (Kernza) and 1/3 annual wheat flour. DELICIOUS noted by all who tasted! Displayed with the grains which they were made.

She is very content after a couple of hours grazing on the intermediate wheat grass pasture. Harvest of grain and straw was on Aug 30 and cows went to the pasture on Oct 30, 2017

Grazing the Intermediate wheat grass pasture at Kellogg Biological Station organic field in Hickory Corners Michigan. The steers were on the pasture for several days, catching the attention of passer-byers. Who let the cows out!! well that is where they belong- on pasture that is tasty! Bon Apetit Boys!

Poster IWG field dayweb    to see what info we share during the field days!


Two great field days were held at Hampshire Farms in Kingston MI and at Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University at Hickory Corners, on Oct 30 and Nov 3. The

event focused on multi uses of intermediate wheat grass for its pasture to feed the dairy cows, its grain for Kernza flour or making beer and then using the straw for bedding. Of course the environmental values are top-notch-keeping nitrogen near the roots rather than escaping through leaching into the ground-water. You can see from the photos on this site how long the roots grow! The length and mass of the roots account for the plants ability to hold nitrogen in place. Almost a silver bullet!

Poster IWG field dayweb


New WEBsite on Perennial Crops in Africa

If you are interested in research and values of perennials grown in countries in Africa then you should visit this site:
This website shares the progress of a research and extension team from Michigan State University.  Take a look at the crop profiles to see how many different perennials there are in Africa, and many are eaten and are nutritious! The goal of this site is to identify the wide-uses and values of an assortment of African perennial grains,  encouraging farmers to invest in these types of crops, selecting ones that grow well in their climate while addressing their needs-economically, nutritionally and environmentally. Ultimately, favorable adoption and use could lead to a transformation toward a sustainable intensification by many African smallholder farmers.

Perennial Grains Activity in Australia

Contributors: Richard Hayes and Matthew Newell

Here is a sampling of recent work on perennial cereals coming out of Australia!
Headlines below link to paper abstracts:






Researcher Matt Newell (New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Cowra Agricultural Research and Advisory Station) also wrote the following brief detailing highlights of his recent visit to the Land Institute:

Perennial Grains Activity in Australia

Developing perennial grains offers a novel approach to sustainable agricultural production while maintaining food security. In Australia, research has highlighted the need to return perennials back into the landscape to ameliorate the soil degradation caused by annual cropping. A component of this research, conducted by a team led by NSW DPI, successfully demonstrated the feasibility of perennial grains for Australia. Recent interest in developing cropping systems for the permanent pasture zone in Australia, has indicated the need to develop dual purpose perennial grain crops which could supply a forage source for grazing animals as well as harvestable grain, improving the profitability in a mixed farming enterprise. Perennial grains could offer solutions to the impediments to annual grain production in this zone as well as limit the potential environmental damaged caused through the removal of perennial species.

Recently Matthew Newell from NSW DPI travelled to The Land Institute in Kansas. This provided an opportunity to work more closely with colleagues there, allowing a better understanding of the breath of research undertaken. During this time new crosses with wheat and other perennial grasses, including some Australian native grasses were developed. This is important as by studying these crosses we can learn more about the genetics of the perennial habit. Also it provides an avenue to increase the diversity among perennial cereals currently available, with an aim of creating material that may demonstrate improved adaptability to differing environments.


Alien pollen germinating on wheat stigma. Photo courtesy of Matthew Newell.


Rescued hybrid wheat embryos on media. Photo courtesy of Matthew Newell.

Further studies were completed in investigating biological nitrogen (N) fixation in perennial sorghum and the ability of perennial sunflowers to extract deep soil N. The importance of these experiments is that it provides information on the nitrogen economy in perennial cropping systems. In modern annual cropping systems there is high dependence on synthetic nitrogen inputs which require a considerable amount of energy to produce. Recovery of added synthetic nitrogen in grain farming is at best 50% which leaves a large amount of nutrient that is susceptible to loss with potential to cause environmental damage. By comparison, in a farming system based on perennials, nutrient loss is reduced due to the greater soil volume accessed by roots and better synchrony between crop demand and nutrient availability.


Perennial sorghum for N fixation. Photo courtesy of Matthew Newell.


Soil N extration in perennial sunflower. Photo courtesy of Matthew Newell.

It is hoped that this activity will be beneficial in sourcing funds from both Australian and USA donors to support an international project between TLI and DPI to further perennial grains research.

Third Annual Perennial Grain Research Reporting Session in Manitoba, Canada

July 16-17, 2012

The first day consisted of ten research talks from five research institutions, ranging from plant molecular genetics to ecosystem services to pathology to food science. The second day consisted of a field tour of long-term cropping system research trials and perennial grain breeding plots, including intermediate wheatgrass, perennial rye, perennial sunflower and perennial wheat. Make sure to check out the agenda and the presentations from sessions.

Research scientists shared results from ongoing and recently completed projects
and discussed future directions of their work. Thanks to Doug Cattani and his team
and to Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives for making this meeting

The session also included a tour of the facilities. Take a glance at the perennial grain in Manitoba.

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Summary of the KBS Perennial Wheat and Grains Field Day!

KBS Perennial Wheat and Grains Field Day
Wednesday, June 27, 2012  

We had a great turnout at the Perennial Wheat and Grains Field Day! Take a look at our Perennial Wheat and Grain Field Day Agenda to see what we did throughout the day.

Our hardworking grad students Sienna Tinsley, Christine Sprunger and Nikhil Jaikumar were able to present their preliminary data and results they have collected regarding perennial grains to the group. Throughout the field day, farmers were encouraged to interact with the grad students to learn more and ask questions regarding the growing promise of perennial grains. With this, the farmers were able to evaluate the potential crops for their needs.  Though we haven’t reached our goals with perennial grains yet, we were able to leran more about about the research that’s being done and discuss potential outcomes for such crops.

Click here to read more about Sienna’s research. 

Click here to read more about Nikhil’s research.

Click here to read more about Christine’s research.  

You can also view the Focus Group Discussion Guide that we used to discuss the potential of perennial grains with farmers.



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