Scientists at Washington State University believe that a perennial wheat variety with a large, blue kernel they have in development could bring grain production to the next level.
Called Salish Blue, and developed at WSU’s Bread Lab, this new wheat requires no field tilling, no seeding, and no herbicides each season. The Bread Lab has been breeding perennial wheat for 20 years, however, it is the fact that Salish Blue boosts soil health through its robust, permanent root system that has scientists excited for its potential.
Salish Blue has been cultivated in trials on the Olympic Peninsula and in Central Montana, and has end-use characteristics aligned with soft white wheat. Yields are about 70 percent of typical annual varieties, however, the Bread Lab is working to breed-in higher yield, disease resistance, and end-user traits that will make perennial wheat a financially viable option for farmers. Scientists at the lab expect that Salish Blue will be commercially available in about two years.
Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at firstname.lastname@example.org.