Turning research toward sustainable practices
Farmers and ranchers are constantly changing their practices to succeed. The challenge of a changing climate and the pressures of an ag economy push agriculture to conserve natural resources to survive.
To create a system that is both environmentally and financially sustainable, work is being done on a range of ag practices. In crops, researchers are developing perennial cropping systems to limit tillage and compaction. For livestock, breeders work to improve genetics for their animals to thrive in specific regions.
Here’s a look at two research areas that offer potential as farmers review their approach to ag sustainability.
Perennial crops, which are planted, harvested and regrown year after year, provide a way to continually produce food while reducing soil erosion and chemical inputs to regenerate the landscape.
Researchers at The Land Institute develop perennial grain crops to transition cereal crops, like wheat, from annual to perennial cropping systems. Intermediate wheatgrass, a grass currently used primarily for livestock forage, is one of many species selected for domestication as a perennial grain crop.