Woor­ree quinoa trial shows prom­ise

Geraldton Guardian - - News -

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.

Pic­ture: De­part­ment of Pri­mary Industries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment

De­part­ment de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Bon­nie Jupp and field re­search manager Steve Cosh in­spect a crop at the Woor­ree trial site.

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