Fostering complex soil food webs and building soil fertility with organic production: perennial wheat – Phase Two


Principal Investigator

Sieglinde Snapp, Soil and Cropping Systems Ecologist, Professor, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Michigan State University, [email protected]

Co-Principal Investigator

Vicki Morrone, Organic Vegetable and Field Crop Outreach Specialist, Michigan State University, [email protected]


Lee and Linda Purdy, Farmer Educator, Westwind Milling and Organic Grain Farmers


Blog posts have been posted on the Michigan State perennial grains website that summarize assessment by researchers and farmers engaged with perennial grains ( Twelve interviews of farmers and researchers were conducted in 2016 to document preferences and experiences of those engaged in production and research on intermediate wheatgrass (including the grain Kernza®). The interviews spanned a geographic area that encompassed 7 states and Canada. The farmers that we interviewed have different levels of expertise with perennial grains (Table 1). We have summarized perceptions of the production challenges and future opportunities associated with perennial grain crops and dual purpose intermediate wheat grass. Interviews with plant breeders and scientists documented that significant progress has been made with breeding Kernza® and identifying recommended agronomic practices. Despite this progress, there remain challenges and unanswered questions with this new perennial grain crop. As one researcher said “Programs are doing what they need to be doing. Right now there’s a need for answering the basic agronomic questions. It is still a new crop but it will be helpful to have long-term projects that assess how the stand ages over time.”

View/Download Full Report in PDF Format