Here’s a story from the Daily Seed about the need for perennial grains to replace many of the annuals. I never knew there was such a thing as perennials when it comes to agriculture:
Perennial grains, say the authors, have longer growing seasons than annual crops and deeper roots that let the plants take greater advantage of precipitation. Their larger roots, which can reach ten to 12 feet down, reduce erosion, build soil and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They require fewer passes of farm equipment and less herbicide, key features in less developed regions.
By contrast, annual grains can lose five times as much water as perennial crops and 35 times as much nitrate, a valuable plant nutrient that can migrate from fields to pollute drinking water and create “dead zones” in surface waters.
Reading through the story, I see why I’m not familiar with them: They need to be developed.