Kernza Seedhead

PBS Newshour Video on Kernza

Grain crops make up 50% of farmland and human calories globally and are a critical component to the farming economy in the Upper Midwest. However, the major grain crops of the world are annuals and are associated with a number of negative environmental consequences. Intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) is a perennial, cool-season forage grass that has been bred for large seed size and yield so that it can be used as a grain crop called Kernza®. The large root system of intermediate wheatgrass supports its perennial growth habit while providing improved ecosystem services compared to annuals.

Click on the links below to learn more about past and current Kernza research projects.

  • Establishment - Seeding date and depth

  • Fertility - Optimum nitrogen fertilizer rates

  • Dual-use potential - Grazing and forage harvest

  • Maintaining long-term grain yields

  • Greenhouse gas mitigation

  • Improving drinking water quality