Transforming Agriculture, Perennially

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Farmers Can Now Grow Food-Grade Wheatgrass

Publication: What’s New in Food Technology & Manufacturing

The University of Minnesota has released a food-grade wheatgrass variety for public use, enabling the crop to be grown as human food. Wheatgrass contains beneficial nutrients but has historically been used as a crop in animal feed. However, a partnership between The Land Institute and the University of Minnesota has changed that.

“The Land Institute has been breeding intermediate wheatgrass since 2002. Developed using germplasm provided by The Land Institute in 2011, this variety of wheatgrass is the first to be available for public use,” said James Anderson, a professor at the University of Minnesota.

The new variety, called MN-Clearwater, was produced by crossing seven wheatgrass parents with desired qualities, such as high grain yield and seed size, which are suitable for farmers. Breeders have succeeded in domesticating this perennial crop that provides benefits to farmers and the environment. The MN-Clearwater wheatgrass seed grain threshes freely from the hulls 63% of the time. More information about MN-Clearwater can be found in the Journal of Plant Registrations.

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