Woorree quinoa trial shows promise
A trial has shown Geraldton could be an ideal location for growing potentially lucrative crops of the grain quinoa.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development planted crops in Woorree, east of Geraldton, this year as part of a Statewide trial at sites across WA.
Department research officer Richard Snowball said Geraldton had been chosen for its fertile soil and proximity to the coast, where winter temperatures were warmer.
“We moved the trial site to Woorree after poor trial results at Mingenew and Cunderdin last year, which possibly resulted from below-average temperatures across the grain belt,” Mr Snowball 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.
“The successful plant establishment achieved at the Woorree 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.”
Mr Snowball said the next step was to conduct a glasshouse experiment to examine factors that could potentially affect crop establishment.
Three advanced lines of quinoa developed by the department and AgriFutures Australia were sown, along with “Medusa”, the “Three Farmers” variety grown in WA, and landrace varieties originating from Chile and Bolivia.
Mr Snowball said crop establishment had been a challenge this year, with several failed trials.
“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,” Mr Snowball said.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has been the leading agency trialling quinoa for research funded by AgriFutures Australia.
Department development officer Bonnie Jupp and field research manager Steve Cosh inspect a crop at the Woorree trial site.