Mixed Grain Crops, or Maslins, Succeed Where Others Fail, According to New Study
A new study found that crops made up of mixed grains are more resilient and higher-yielding than traditional single grain counterparts. However, when referencing “mixed grain crops”, the study is not focusing on a field in which multiple types of grain are sown in separate rows, but rather crops called maslins, where two or more grains are actually mixed together and sown. They then grow intermingled and are harvested and processed together - even ground into flour together.
Scientists at Cornell University have found that maslin crops, which have been in existence for more than 3,000 years in Eritrea, India, Georgia, Greece, Sudan, and Ethiopia, are mostly unknown due to the food industry preferring uniform products.
The team outlined multiple advantages to maslin cultivation: ~Greater resilience to weather, pests and other adverse conditions as one grain type may be affected more than the other(s), ultimately still producing a harvest.
~ The ratio of grains will also be present in the leftover grain for sowing the next year’s crop allowing for rapid evolution due to grain proportions constantly responding to growing conditions.
~ And since different grains have different requirements and physical characteristics, there is less competition for resources and therefore, higher yields.
Reflecting these benefits, the researchers found that a maslin of Eritrean wheat mixed with barley produced 20 percent more wheat and 11 percent more barley compared to singular crops of each.