231-1 Intermediate Wheat Grass-a Grain for Many Uses.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017: 10:25 AM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Room 10
Intermediate wheatgrass is most widely known by ranchers as a pasture grass but is gaining familiarity for its grain, Kernza¨, and additional uses. Farmers in the mid-Atlantic plains noticed that if the crop was not grazed in a timely manner it would produce a head with notable grain. Once the crop has established, it continues to tiller for several years, lending to environmental and agronomic qualities. Demand for this alternative grain is mounting; as part of a feed mixture, bread flour, and as a beer ingredient. Researchers from the Land Institute in Saline, Kansas took the plant by its nodes and worked to improve its genetics, seeking larger seeds and a uniform plant-stand. Farmers appreciate the values of this multi-purpose crop that can offer value as a grain, Kernza¨ and pasture, or so we hope. Environmentalists appreciate this crop for its perenniality, which develops a very deep, fibrous root system, holding nutrients and soil in place. In collaboration with the University of Minnesota, a team from Michigan State University are testing the crop on organic dairy farms for its ability to be provide dual uses in a single planting; the grain for flour and the vegetation for dairy cow grazing. A perennial crop with dual uses will promote the attraction to farmers, as one planting operation with multi-uses will reduce the upfront cost, thus increasing its agronomic value while providing opportunity to embrace its environmental worth.
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