Category - Varieties

Quinoa: le nostre prove varietali (2016)
Knowing (and growing) amaranth
Quinoa: general considerations for the 2017 campaign
Varieties of Quinoa: Chile
Main Varieties of Quinoa: Bolivia
Main Varieties of Quinoa: Peru
Quinoa: ecotypes and classification

Quinoa: le nostre prove varietali (2016)

In 2016, we finally had the chance to carry out the first experimental trials on Quinoa and Amaranth in Tuscany and, as is often the case, we were faced with situations that were in many ways different to those seen in Spain or other geographical areas. But that is, after all, the beauty of nature. Read More

Quinoa: general considerations for the 2017 campaign

=> Photogallery 2016 => Photogallery 2017

As we come to the end of this 2017, it is time to take stock of a year that, especially from a climatic point of view, has given us quite a few surprises. At the same time, however, it has allowed us to observe the behavior of quinoa under conditions that are extreme, to say the least.

The Regalona variety was tested this year in different parts of Italy, with different planting techniques on soils with different compositions and altitudes ranging from sea level to 900m above sea level.

The year 2017, from the production point of view, provided us with many confirmations on behaviors already observed from the tests carried out in the past years, but also with remarkable (and positive) surprises. Having been able to observe plant behavior under different conditions, at different latitudes and altitudes, gave us a way to be able to formulate a kind of "sensitivity analysis" concerning the factors that most influence cultivation.

Let us proceed in order. The factors that were taken into consideration, based on the observations of a sample of farms that conducted the tests were: a) Altitude b) Soil type c) Sowing time d) Sowing method e) Time to rainfall consistency f) Pest attacks.

  1. Altitude: we could see that altitude, at least up to 800 m above sea level, does not particularly affect development and production.
  2. Tipologia di terreno: come già constatato in precedenza, i terreni eccessivamente limosi o i terreni che, in generale, tendono a creare una crosta superficiale, mettono a rischio l’emergenza della pianta. In ogni caso, esclusa questa criticità, la pianta ha dimostrato di adattarsi bene a tutti i terreni. Non sono state realizzate analisi sui terreni, pertanto non si hanno dati scientifici. Anche i terreni estremamente sabbiosi sono da evitare in quanto, dopo un’emergenza ed una prima fase vegetativa eccezionale, con l’arrivo del caldo la pianta soffre l’eccessiva evaporazione dell’umidità dal suolo. Su questa tipologia di terreni sarebbe necessario irrigare almeno in prefioritura e nella fase di riempimento del chicco.
  3. Sowing time: Sowing time is certainly one of the determining factors. It is undoubtedly affected by altitude and latitude but, in general, we were able to observe that anticipating sowing as much as possible reduces the risk of Altica attack in the emergence phase (the pest attacks when temperatures begin to rise) and increases the probability of precipitation in the pre-emergence phase. We were also able to observe that frosts (down to -3°C) did not cause any damage to the plant (plant with 6 true leaves). Therefore, we think it is important to anticipate sowing as much as possible, even up to February 20/25 in flat and hilly areas in southern Italy and in coastal hilly areas in central Italy. In any case, weather conditions and soil tillage possibilities permitting, at altitudes below 600 meters, it is advisable to sow by the end of March.
  4. Metodo di semina: Le principali differenze tra la semina di precisione e la semina a fila continua (o a spaglio) risiedono nella gestione delle infestanti e nello spazio a disposizione della pianta per svilupparsi. La scelta tra l’uno o l’altro metodo è spesso determinata dai macchinari che si hanno a disposizione. Per la semina di precisione, oltre ad una seminatrice idonea, è necessario disporre di una sarchiatrice con la quale effettuare almeno 1 o 2 passaggi. Questo metodo, offre alla pianta la possibilità di svilupparsi maggiormente potendo sfruttare il maggior spazio a disposizione, quindi si avrà una densità minore, ma con una maggior produzione di seme per pianta. La presenza di infestanti tra le file sarà ovviamente più agguerrita, almeno nei primi 40/60 giorni. La semina con seminatrice tradizionale a fila continua o a spaglio, richiede maggior abilità da parte dell’operatore che deve essere abile innanzitutto a calibrare la dose di seme (tenendo conto che la dose ideale è di circa 10 kg/ha) oltre che a dare uniformità e giusta profondità al seme. Nella nostra azienda, quest’anno per quanto riguarda la semina a fila continua, abbiamo provato un metodo di semina leggermente diverso da quello illustrato nell’articolo “La coltivazione della Quinoa”, per maggiori dettagli rimandiamo all’articolo “Quinoa: prove di coltivazione in campo aperto”
  5. Time and amount of precipitation: The year 2017 confirmed to us the great drought resistance of quinoa. The quinoa we sowed in Maremma on March 16 reached maturity without rainfall or irrigation intervention. Obviously the size of the seed, and consequently the weight and quantities produced, were affected, but it was the only plant able to survive the heat and drought without irrigation intervention. The best results were on plots that received rainfall (15/30 mm) in the pre-emergence period (in the first week after planting) and in the period before flowering. This is one of the reasons why we believe that it is useful to anticipate the sowing period as much as possible. Having water availability, we recommend good irrigation immediately after sowing.

    Marche - planting March 4, pre-emergence rainfall (photo taken 80 days after planting)

    Maremma - sowing March 16 with continuous row seeder - total absence of rain (photo taken 80 days after sowing)

  6. Pest attacks: This year the hot weather has greatly favored pests, which have been a problem especially for late sowings (starting in April). Altica has undoubtedly been the main problem on our plots in Maremma as well; it was stopped by the April 19/20 and 21 frosts, which, however, did not cause any damage to quinoa. In northern Italy there were problems related to the presence of bugs and aphids in the period after flowering. With regard to altica, the best remedy at the moment is definitely early planting, as there are no registered products on quinoa.

    Maremma - Altica attack in emergency phase

The time of sowing and the volume of rainfall in the pre-emergence period, as can be seen from the photos in this article, greatly affect plant homogeneity. With regard to yields, the plots considered showed highly variable, though generally low yields (between 800 and 1500 kg/Ha). On none of the plots considered were irrigations used, so the below-average yields were certainly attributable to low (or absent) rainfall. The highest yields were on plots sown by March 20 (with notable difference among those crops that had rainfall during the first 7/10 days after sowing). Drought had negative effects especially on seed size.

=> Photogallery 2016 => Photogallery 2017

Main Varieties of Quinoa: Bolivia

The "Quinua Real"

Bolivia is home to what, from a commercial point of view, can be considered the quinoa par excellence: the so-called "Quinua Real." In fact, it is not a variety, but rather a denomination that groups about 50 local varieties that are characterized by the size of their seed (usually over 2 mm), which is also the main reason for their commercial success. Read More

Quinoa: ecotypes and classification

Quinoa is a plant capable of adapting to a wide variety of soil and climateconditions : altitudes ranging from sea level to 4,000 meters above sea level; temperatures between 38°C and -8°C; precipitation levels that can range from 100 mm to 2,000 mm per year; and at average humidities between Read More

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