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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Clean Water Fund > Forever Green Initiative > Enhancing Profitability of Intermediate Wheatgrass

Advanced Management Practices for Enhancing Profitability of Intermediate Wheatgrass


Principal Investigator:
Craig Sheaffer, Professor
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics

Project Summary

Intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium, IWG) is a perennial grass being domesticated for grain as part of the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota.

Goals and objectives:  The overall goal is to support greater economic incentives for producers to grow IWG, thereby expanding acreage of this perennial crop and providing protection of natural resources. Objectives are to: reduce lodging through use of plant growth regulators; increase long-term stand productivity by between row disturbances; evaluate IWG as a dual-use, grain-forage crop; and evaluate new selected populations in agronomic production systems. 

Approach and methodology:
Experiment 1.  Because excess lodging is a limiting factor in grain production, we will apply a plant growth regulator (PalisadeÒ) at two growth stages of IWG and at three application rates at Rosemount and Roseau, MN. We will measure grain yields and lodging.  

Experiment 2. Because stand productivity declines over years, we propose to enhance long-term production by imposing herbicide and tillage treatments into established IWG stands that are two and three years old at Roseau and Rosemount, MN. Grain yield will be measured. 

Experiment 3. IWG has potential to generate revenue from forage and also grain. We will evaluate the effect of dairy cattle grazing on forage yield, grain yield, and measure cattle performance at Morris, MN. 

Experiment 4.  Breeding efforts at the Land Institute and the UM St. Paul, have improved IWG grain yield in new populations of IWG.   We will measure grain yield and lodging of advanced populations of intermediate wheatgrass in diverse environments at Roseau, Lamberton, and Rosemount, MN.

Outcomes:  Development of a profitable IWG production industry in Minnesota with economic benefits to growers, rural communities, and food for society; and improved environmental quality through greater use of perennial grains.  Specific deliverables include: information on management practices to reduce lodging and enhance grain yields, strategies for dual use of IWG for forage and grain production, and evaluation of new IWG populations/varieties across diverse environments.

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