Kernza® grain has made its way into the commercial supply chain in niche markets with the goal of developing new varieties and growing methods that will enable widespread planting and use of Kernza® in commercial products. Four breeding programs are focused on selecting for a number of traits including yield, shatter resistance, free threshing ability, seed size, and grain quality.
If current progress is sustained, Kernza® seed size will be 50% as large as annual wheat seed in the next 10 years. Beyond that, breeders are working on developing shorter plants that are easier to grow with improved flavor and functionality. Although Kernza® perennial grain currently has low grain yields compared annual production, farmers and consumers can benefit from the ecological impact of producing and consuming Kernza® perennial grain today.
Breeding programs are diversified for U.S. regions and for global food production. In the long term, we will develop varieties that have yields similar to annual wheat, resulting in Kernza® grain produced at significant scale. Kernza® grain will have the largest impact when it is grown on millions of acres globally and is found in common staples available on grocery store shelves.