Yield Potential of Kernza
There are high hopes for Kernza, one of the first commercialized perennial grains, to someday be as productive as wheat. Sustain-A-Grain co-founder and chief science officer, Dr. Brandon Schlautman, says the diverse genetic potential will be an asset in reaching these goals.
Schlautman… “If you look at a Kernza production field, there’s plenty of florets available to produce yields that are equivalent to what, if not better. The fertility is just not there yet so those are challenges that can and should be addressed. So I think there’s a lot of potential. There’s a study that just came out about Kernza; just a few plants in Kernza having more genetic diversity than all of annual wheat. There’s all this diversity that can be selected upon and can be improved in ways that wheat doesn’t have that same potential available, maybe in the same ways, so I’m confident it's possible.”
Sustain-A-Grain co-founder, Peter Miller, also adds that Kernza’s longevity has advantages for the environment.
Miller… “And I would add that some of the ecological benefits that are unique to Kernza really relate to its root structure. So the roots of the Kernza plant extend over 12 feet below ground, so there’s a promise there of better nutrient cycling, better water infiltration, potentially some carbon sequestration.”
That’s Dr. Brandon Schlautman and Peter Miller, co-founders of Sustain-A-Grain.