Distichlis palmeri: Perennial Grain Yields under Saline Paddy-style Cultivation of Grains on Seawater
Cylphine Bresdin, Edward P. Glenn

All our major grain crops are glycophytic grasses that require irrigation with quality water, annual tillage and reseeding of non-salinized soils. Farming of perennial halophytic crops has the potential to circumvent these restrictive issues. The present study reports perennial yields and proximate analysis of Distichlis palmeri grain. D. palmeri is a C4 dioecious halophytic grass endemic to the Sea of Cortez where native Cocopah gathered its 8 mm long grain as a wild harvest. We grew first generation D. palmer perennially over four consecutive crop years under experimental saline paddy-style conditions that reflect its natural tidal-flat habitat. Mean grain yield from our experimental system with a 1:3 male to female ratio was 176 g m-2 (SD = 28.2). Crude protein ranged from 7 – 12.5% with a net energy between 60 – 75%. Grain from Crop 2 germinated and grew under brackish conditions into fully flowering plants in two years. Our model in Tucson, Arizona demonstrates feasibility of developing paddy-style landscape based cropping systems for the domestication of D. palmeri as a perennial grain crop for human consumption. Cropping of D. palmeri may serve soil remediation and carbon sink functions for salinized soils and as a repurpose for saline waste water supplies.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v4n2a1