Navigation Links
Agriculture's next revolution -- perennial grain -- within sight
Date:6/24/2010

PULLMAN, Wash. Earth-friendly perennial grain crops, which grow with less fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, and erosion than grains planted annually, could be available in two decades, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Science.

Perennial grains would be one of the largest innovations in the 10,000 year history of agriculture, and could arrive even sooner with the right breeding programs, said John Reganold, Washington State University (WSU) Regents professor of soil science and lead author of the paper with Jerry Glover, a WSU-trained soil scientist now at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.

"It really depends on the breakthroughs," said Reganold. "The more people involved in this, the more it cuts down the time."

Published in Science's influential policy forum, the paper is a call to action as half the world's growing population lives off marginal land at risk of being degraded by annual grain production. Perennial grains, say the paper's authors, expand farmers' ability to sustain the ecological underpinnings of their crops.

"People talk about food security," said Reganold. "That's only half the issue. We need to talk about both food and ecosystem security."

Perennial grains, say the authors, have longer growing seasons than annual crops and deeper roots that let the plants take greater advantage of precipitation. Their larger roots, which can reach ten to 12 feet down, reduce erosion, build soil and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They require fewer passes of farm equipment and less herbicide, key features in less developed regions.

By contrast, annual grains can lose five times as much water as perennial crops and 35 times as much nitrate, a valuable plant nutrient that can migrate from fields to pollute drinking water and create "dead zones" in surface waters.

"Developing perennial versions of our major grain crops would address many of the environmental limitations of annuals while helping to feed an increasingly hungry planet," said Reganold.

Perennial grain research is underway in Argentina, Australia, China, India, Sweden and the United States. Washington State University has more than a decade of work on perennial wheat led by Stephen Jones, director WSU's Mount Vernon Research Center. Jones is also a contributor to the Science paper, which has more than two dozen authors, mostly plant breeders and geneticists.

The authors say research into perennial grains can be accelerated by putting more personnel, land and technology into breeding programs. They call for a commitment similar to that underway for biologically based alternative fuels.


'/>"/>

Contact: Eric Sorensen
eric.sorensen@wsu.edu
509-335-4846
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Space technology revolutionizes archaeology, understanding of Maya
2. Queens University professors chemistry discovery may revolutionize cooking oil production
3. Major report reveals the environmental and social impact of the livestock revolution
4. Cameras of the future: heart researchers create revolutionary photographic technique
5. Revolutionary water treatment units on their way to Afghanistan
6. Petascale computational tools could revolutionize understanding of genomic evolution
7. AFOSRs basic research may lead to revolutionary new devices
8. Revolutionary drug could be new hope for adrenal cancer patients
9. Beautiful plumage: Feather color and sex start the species revolution
10. New advance in revolutionary bullet fingerprinting technique
11. New nanoparticles could revolutionize therapeutic drug discovery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/27/2016)... CHESTER, Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite ... supplier based in West Chester, Ohio ... their award winning service staff, based in ... technical capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and ... John Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, the ... pharma and publication industries, will provide the data management ... Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis measures ... whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... states, announced today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the ... Medicine, Clinical Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Latham, NY (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... photodiode packages at the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco’s Moscone ... and 14 in the same venue. , These latest InGaAs PIN diode standard ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... (PROMPT), a research registry built on the secure online PatientCrossroads platform, has exceeded ... than 1,600 participants have joined the PROMPT study, which seeks to advance understanding ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... has announced a new agreement with Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and ... Philippines, Thailand and Singapore in the latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: