Date of this Version
Modern industrialized agriculture is based on monocultures of annual crops requiring massive levels of biocide, fertilizer, and fossil fuel inputs. This form of agriculture has led to soil erosion and chemical contamination of soil and ground water. The Land Institute is studying a new model for grain agriculture, based on the prairie ecosystem, involving diversified plantings of perennial seed crops. Species we have studied include eastern gamagrass, wildrye, Illinois bundle flower, wild senna, Maximilian sunflower, hybrid perennial sorghum, and hybrid perennial rye. The Land Institute s research program develops perennial polycultures based on basic questions concerning high seed yield, over yielding, nitrogen supply by a legume component, and biological management of weeds, insect pests, and plant diseases. Results to support the model are presented.