CRWP Hosting Perennial Row Crop Study

Kernza a perennial grain that could protect soil year round while also producing grain and animal forage. Photo Source: University of Minnesota.

Kernza (Intermediate Wheatgrass) was planted on 15 acres by two area farmers in September 2018. Kernza is the registered tradename for an intermediate wheatgrass (scientific name Thinopyrum intermedium), that was developed by The Land Institute located in Salinas, Kansas – despite the name, it is not a species of wheat. The grain has a sweet, nutty flavor making it a good fit for cereals, snacks and brewing. The kernel is smaller than wheat and has more bran and fiber, but fewer carbohydrates. Kernza also produces vegetative forage (biomass) for livestock, and because it’s a perennial it regrows year after year without having to plant new seeds annually.
Through a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Sustainable Ag Demonstration Grant, CRWP and the University of Minnesota will be working with one Rice County farmer and one Goodhue County farmer to study how grazing the fall biomass of Kernza will affect the subsequent grain production of this perennial wheat. Information from this study will help farmers learn about the financial benefits available to them from the grain and forage production of Kernza. This project began with the planting in 2018 and will end in 2021.