Kernza Research Underway

Kernza Research Underway

Rick Worthington
Rick Worthington
Kernza Research Underway

There is a relatively new type of grain, which supporters say is safer for the environment.

A nonprofit organization is taking part in research that aims to give producers more solutions.

The alternative grain, which is called Kernza, doesn't grow like traditional wheat.

Nicole Tahges, agro-ecologist for the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, said a key difference is that it's not an annual, and after one planting, could keep producing crops over several years.

That helps reduce tillage, and she noted Kernza roots run deeper into the ground, providing additional benefits to soil.

"We're hoping to also decrease chemical and fertilizer inputs as well," Tautges added.

The Institute will share a $10 million federal grant to look at ways of making Kernza easier for farmers to grow and manage.

Tahges says, in addition to figuring out mysteries in managing the crop's growth,they also need to develop a reliable supply chain for Kernza. She said the goal is to make it the nation's first large-scale, perennial-grain crop that could be used for a lot of products.

"It should be ending up in more beers, in more granola bars and those sorts of consumer products," Tautges said.

So far, the wheat sub

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