Agriculture

Perennial crops are coming


Imagine perennial wheat fields, crops that should not be planted every year so as to maximize the exploitation of agriculture for food. Making any plant perennial could be the turning point of agricultural engineering by stopping the food crisis and even climate change. Every year the plants must be re-sown but before the invention of theagriculture much of the planet's surface was covered with perennials that humans could not exploit for food. For decades, farmers have dreamed of replacing their crops with perennial crops, genetic engineering offers the solution and, according to the opinion of agronomists, the advantages do not only concern food abundance.

The plants of the perennial crops they have longer roots, so they strengthen the soil and protect it from erosion, they also help retain precious elements such as phosphorus and require less fertilizer than seasonal plants. Perennial crops do not require plowing, therefore they are not a source of greenhouse gases, on the contrary, like any green lung, the perennial crops they are deposits of carbon dioxide. Starting a perennial cultivation is theoretically possible, while making this type of cultivation a mass phenomenon is a more difficult undertaking.

Scientists are accelerating the development of perennials with technologies that can quickly analyze the genome of plants to identify those with the desired characteristics. When a first generation of plants produces seeds, they will select the few elements of the new generation that have retained those traits. Once perennial alternatives to seasonal or annual varieties are available, large-scale distribution will have a major positive impact on both soil quality and carbon emissions. The keystone of perennial crops it consists of the root system, in fact it is thanks to its large size that perennials will be able to help the Planet so much.

Video: My favorite perennial crop (October 2020).