Author Topic: Sustainable agriculture through perennial grains: Wheat, rice, maize, and other  (Read 730 times)

Nicollas

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A good publication :
Sustainable agriculture through perennial grains: Wheat, rice, maize, and other species. A review

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880921004515

Steph S

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It would be wonderful to see some of these perennial hybrids OSSI pledged or otherwise available to trial in different climates and situations.



Steph S

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I was surprised to learn that the perennial Leymus mollis and another Leymus on the European side were historically used as a bread wheat, even in Viking times which is not that long ago cw the history of farming.
The "Strand Wheat" is even native to my area.  I must see about getting some seeds.
The Leymus are tetraploid and about 50% of crosses with tetraploid wheats were reported by some researchers to be viable seed.  Vs about 3% for hexaploid crosses.  Embryo rescue is the quicker way to get hexaploid crosses.
Some researchers in Sweden have made a cross with hexaploid wheat and Leymus, and their cross is a perennial.
Another interesting detail, there are genes in certain wheat lines that predispose them to accept genes from another species.
One project used a cross of wheat and rye to deactivate a gene that creates a barrier to inter-species crosses.
The work on perennial wheats is certainly very interesting, and seems to have lots of potential.


Walt

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Leymus giganthus and L. mollis  are tretralpoid.  L arenaius is octaploid.  Sorry if I miss spelled the species names.  I haven't worked with them in 40 years.

Walt

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My Triticum aestivum x L. arenarius amphiploid survived a Kansas winter (zone 6) then bloomed and produced some seed.  Then it continued putting up bloom stalks the rest of the summer.  The later blooms didn't make seeds.  Due to the heat I think.  In the fall, it didn't regain cold tolerance and died.  Others since then have had somewhat better results.  In Minnisota I think.

Steph S

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I was interested to see that there was variation in grain quality reported for some of the Leymus studied.   Our local one is Leymus mollis, so it's one of the tetraploids which may be easier to cross with a tetraploid wheat and get viable offspring.    I don't know if grain quality is variable in our local populations - it would be even more interesting to take a trip to the Northern Peninsula and see what is lurking around the Viking sites, to compare the ones in our local area.   But perhaps I would be better off approaching it from the pov of aiming to enhance grain quality or yield in L mollis, rather than aiming to end up with something more similar to bread wheat.

I have ordered some new (annual) wheat grains to trial this season, from Prairie Garden Seeds.
Last year was really promising but it was not a typical season, longer and hotter than normal, so we shall see in coming years what is really adaptable here.
In the hexaploids, I have some Goldkorn spelt fall planted, which seems to be doing quite well.  The challenge in a short-normal season would be to get grain to plant by mid August, which is the recommended time for fall planting here, according to local ag reports.
I also ordered a spring spelt, to see how the harvest dates compare.
I ordered three bread wheats:  Prelude (for the earliness)  Huron (for east coast reputation) and Purple wheat (for the color! and disease resistance reports).  And two hexaploid species wheats:
T sphaerococcum Indian dwarf wheat - I thought this might be interesting to combine with short peas, since it's described as short and sturdy.
T zhukovskyi.  This is an interesting wheat since it is hexaploid but the genome isn't analogous to the bread wheats so IDK how that would affect the possibility of crossing.  It is AA-AA-GG, and was determined by genetic analysis to be a spontaneous hybrid of timopheevi and einkorn.

In the tetraploids,  I have the 'Blue Tinge' emmer from last year., and another emmer ordered, dark-hulled, I believe both are T dicoccum.  One good thing about last year's emmer, it was quite variable in heading time, which is an obvious consideration for any hope of a cross.  I did separate early from late, so I can see how they line up with others.
Also ordered "Rivet wheat" which is tetraploid T. turgidum with branched heads.
And the species wheat T. militinae.   This is tetraploid from the timopheevi group and said to be either a spontaneous  mutant of timopheevi, or a spontaneous hybrid with T. carthlicum.   The grain is reported to have up to 30% protein, and I would grow it for that alone if it can tolerate the climate.
I don't know if any of these would be easy to hybridize with Leymus mollis,   I may have to dig deeper into the tetraploids in another year.
I notice that T. carthlicum has been mentioned as useful for inter-species work.

Jeremy Weiss

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I should warn you that Shot Wheat (T. sphaeroccocom) never did that well for me. It IS quite short and sturdy, but also is VERY attractive to local insects. And if the stuff is too badly damaged, it also loses it's famed ability to be hyper easy threshing, because the kernels DON'T turn out round.

Steph S

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Tx for the heads up, Jeremy.  I'll be watching for that, but TBH one of the really positive outcomes of last year's trial is that the grains attracted huge numbers of beneficial insects - damsel bugs that prey on plant eating pests. 
I was on the lookout for pest problems, and took pics to ID what was on the grain specifically.  There were several kinds of bug pests -leafhoppers, plant bugs, meadow bug - but in small numbers and causing no visible damage.   Damsel bugs OTOH were found on all the grains, and by the time oats were harvested they were literally crawling with em.
Those dynamics could change, obviously!  But I was really relieved when I discovered that the large numbers were actually pest eaters.
I did find some small worms in the crop though -  in the awnless wheat mainly, and a few in the emmer.  IDK what they are.  I was hoping that the damsels would get established and take care of those too in coming years... we shall see.   Grasses are their natural habitat, and the only grasses here are volunteers or weeds, so I doubt there were many nabis present before grains were planted.   If anyone recognizes the worm in the grain, I'd appreciate learning what it is, so I can be on the lookout for the adults.

Steph S

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On the topic of perennial grains, here is one called "Salish Blue" already developed at WSU, and has been named as a new species.   :)  Kudos!
https://seedworld.com/washington-state-university-breeders-develop-salish-blue-perennial-grain/
The 'Salish Blue' is one selection from their work, which is now commercially available.  I found this source and ordered some seed. They suggest fall planting.
https://northwestmeadowscapes.com/products/salish-blue-perennial-wheat-seeds-xtritipyrum-aaseae?variant=40116488077489

Steph S

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I received my seeds of Salish Blue and here are pics for anyone interested.   I just poured a small sample out of the bag to take a look - the shape and size of seeds is quite variable and is also quite comparable to standard wheat seed sizes.   The indication of diversity in seed traits seems to me a good indication of genetic diversity, which I think to be very promising for adaptation to different sites or climate conditions.  It is a generous package at 12 oz.  I'm really thrilled with the opportunity to try these!