Monday, November 13, 2006

Grain Amaranth Production Potential in Southwestern Québec.

Bruce Gelinas and Philippe Seguin. McGill University - Macdonald Campus, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada

Grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) is a pseudocereal with interesting nutritional properties. It is gluten free, high in protein and lysine, and has potential industrial uses. The crop was successfully introduced in the northern United States. However, its potential in eastern Canada is currently unknown. Field experiments were conducted at two sites in southwestern Québec to assess grain amaranth potential and identify management requirements. The following factors were evaluated in three split-plot experiments: i) seeding rate and row width, ii) nitrogen rate and cultivar, and iii) seeding date and cultivar. A fourth experiment consisted in the evaluation of 30 different genotypes. Grain yield and phenological development were determined in all experiments. The crude protein and oxalate contents of the 30 genotypes were also determined to assess whether genetic variability exists for these traits. Grain yields ranged between 350 and 1627 kg DM ha-1 and averaged 820 kg DM ha-1. Yields were affected by sites and cultivars only. Variations of 45 and 133% in crude protein and total oxalate concentrations respectively, were observed among genotypes evaluated. These results thus indicate that grain amaranth could be grown in southwestern Québec and demonstrate that there is significant variation among genotypes for grain quality characteristics.