Quinoa happy at Woor­ree

Countryman - - NEWS -

Ger­ald­ton could prove to be a good lo­ca­tion to grow the an­cient grain quinoa.

The Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional Devel­op­ment has been tri­alling quinoa, as the lead agency for a re­search project funded by AgriFu­tures Aus­tralia, at four sites across the State.

Depart­ment re­search of­fi­cer Richard Snow­ball said al­though this was the first year of the Ger­ald­ton trial, the plot was look­ing very promis­ing.

Mr Snow­ball said shift­ing the trial to a fer­tile soil, close to the coast where win­ter tem­per­a­tures were warmer, may have made the dif­fer­ence.

“We moved the trial site to Woor­ree, east of Ger­ald­ton, af­ter poor trial re­sults at Min­genew and Cun­derdin last year, which pos­si­bly re­sulted from below-av­er­age tem­per­a­tures,” he said.

“Last year’s tri­als es­tab­lished and grew well but pro­duced very lit­tle seed. By con­trast, quinoa at the Woor­ree site is now in full flower and looks cer­tain to pro­duce good seed yields.”

Trial plots have also been sown this year at Eradu, Katan­ning, Esper­ance and Man­jimup to test va­ri­eties, plant­ing times, sow­ing rates and her­bi­cide ap­pli­ca­tions.

Three ad­vanced lines de­vel­oped by the depart­ment and AgriFu­tures Aus­tralia have been sown, as well as Me­dusa, the Three Farm­ers va­ri­ety grown in WA, and lan­drace va­ri­eties that orig­i­nated in Chile and Bo­livia.

Mr Snow­ball said crop es­tab­lish­ment had proven to be a chal­lenge with a num­ber of failed tri­als this year.

“While the Woor­ree trial is do­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well, the tri­als at Katan­ning, Esper­ance and Eradu are look­ing patchy and the Man­jimup one was only sown last week so it is too early to tell how it will fare,” he said.

“The suc­cess­ful plant es­tab­lish­ment achieved at the Wooree site is likely to be a re­sult of se­lect­ing a fer­tile loam soil, ad­e­quate soil mois­ture at plant­ing and pre­cise place­ment of seed at a shal­low depth.

“We now plan to un­der­take a glasshouse ex­per­i­ment to ex­am­ine the po­ten­tial fac­tors af­fect­ing es­tab­lish­ment.”

The project will be com­pleted in June next year with the sup­port of DPIRD, the South Aus­tralian Re­search and Devel­op­ment In­sti­tute, North­ern Ter­ri­tory Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­try and Fish­eries and NSW Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries.

Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional Devel­op­ment devel­op­ment of­fi­cer Bon­nie Jupp and field re­search man­ager Steve Cosh in­spect a stand of seven-week-old quinoa at Wooree.

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