Wheat School: Making a Case for Perennial Wheat

Perennial wheat F1s setting seed. Photo: Jamie Larsen

Are you tired of planting wheat every year? What if you only had to plant the crop every four years?

If those questions spark your interest, you won’t want to miss this episode of Real Agriculture’s Wheat School featuring Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist Jamie Larsen. He’s working to develop perennial wheat that would grow for three consecutive years with minimal production drop-off and deliver 80% to 90% of current winter wheat yields.

Larsen admits there is lots of work ahead, but he does believe that perennial wheat could be economically competitive with annual wheat. That will likely require significant price premiums, which companies like General Mills appear willing to pay if they can capitalize on market appeal for ‘sustainably-produced wheat products.’

Another part of the puzzle is likely to be some economic recognition of the potential carbon sequestration benefits of perennial wheat. The crop may find its best fit on mixed farms where it could provide fall grazing for livestock after producing a grain crop. Larsen shares his current research and lays out the path ahead in this interview with Real Agriculture’s Bernard Tobin.


Click here for more Wheat School episodes.

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