Transforming Agriculture, Perennially
Kernza ripens in a New 70 breeding plot at The Land Institute.

Kernza® Grain

Kernza® is the trademark name for the grain of an intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) being developed at The Land Institute.

Today, this ecologically beneficial perennial grain has already made its way into the commercial supply chain in small niche markets. We’re working toward a future that includes multiple varieties of Kernza® that are economical for farmers around the world to produce at a large scale.

Why Kernza®?

  • Kernza® grain plants are deeply rooted. The roots can extend 10 feet or more beneath the soil surface, delivering atmospheric carbon to the soil and efficiently taking up nutrients and water.
  • The yield potential of Kernza is rapidly increasing, and after harvest, the remaining leaves and stems can be grazed by cattle.
  • In good conditions, the long, slender Kernza® seed heads can contain more seeds than an annual wheat head. Additionally, with each breeding cycle, researchers work to increase seed size.
  • New varieties of Kernza® grain can enable farmers to grow it profitably at scale and bring its environmental benefits to modern farms and diets.

Intern Madeline DeBois selects Kernza heads for harvest in a breeding plot at The Land Institute. The Institute is developing the wheat-like Kernza as a perennial grain crop.

Ten years after we began to see the potential of Kernza® perennial grain and secured the tradename, there are 100+ farmers producing it on nearly 4,000 acres globally. Ingredient producers, millers, and distributors are helping move grain from farm to market, and consumers are enjoying the great taste of

Kernza® in products and menu items across the U.S. In order to continue this transition from research to farm to plate, we’ve launched a resource that serves as the definitive source of information about growing, accessing, and using Kernza® perennial grain.

For more on how to get Kernza® seed, grain or products, visit:

Helping Grow Perennial Agriculture

Kernza® grain is the first perennial crop from The Land lnstitute’s work to be introduced into the
agriculture and food markets, but our researchers are currently working on others, including perennial wheat, perennial rice, perennial sorghum, and perennial oilseeds, with more to come.

Join us by supporting this work with a donation to The Land Institute.


Project Team

Lee DeHaan
Director of Crop Improvement/Lead Scientist, Kernza® Domestication Program

Marty Christians
Research Technician, Kernza®

Sophia Skelly
Upper Midwest Hub Coordinator

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A nutritional study on early-generation grain from the Kernza breeding program documents the nutritional quality of the perennial grain, with data underscoring its macronutrient composition, vitamin and mineral content, and…

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