Perennial Wheat

Living on Earth
The World

Since the dawn of agriculture, some ten thousand years ago, human beings have relied on domesticated annual plants for food crops. Annuals like corn, soybeans and wheat tend to produce lots of seeds, the grains the we eat. But, a farmer has to plant an annual every year. That can be costly in terms of fuel, labor and equipment. And in some places repeated tilling of the earth causes serious soil erosion. Soil erosion is a constant concern on the dryland farms of eastern Washington state, one of the nation’s leading wheat producing regions. Now researchers at Washington State University are working to develop a perennial wheat crop one that would come back year after year, and help hold the soil in place. Becky Rumsey reports.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.