The Potential of Perennial Grain: Increasing Production, Reducing Labor, and Restoring Degraded Land

With longer growing seasons and deeper roots, perennial grain crops reduce erosion, build and sustain soil quality, sequester carbon, and require less water. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

An article in the latest issue of the journal Science calls for a greater commitment to the development of perennial grain crops. According to the online news site Seed Daily, researchers writing for Science believe that perennial grains—which require less fertilizer, herbicide, and fuel than grains planted annually—could, with continued financial support, be available to farmers in 20 years. With longer growing seasons and deeper roots, perennial grain crops reduce erosion, build and sustain soil quality, sequester carbon, and require less water. This means that the crops would not only produce bigger harvests, they would also help to restore degraded farmlands. With the number of hungry people worldwide topping 1 billion and with the harmful impacts of industrial farming and climate change damaging increasingly more land, perennial grain crops could be one innovation that nourishes both people and the planet.

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