Amaranth is a small seed crop from Central America that has traditionally been used as a leafy green Asian vegetable (en choy) and on a small scale as a forage crop in Australia; however, there are considerable opportunities for its development as a high protein seed crop to produce both oil and flour. There is increasing demand for amaranth products under the ‘ancient grains’ banner; as ingredients for food (high protein and gluten free) and cosmetics. Amaranth is rapid growing (34 months from planting to maturity), and is well suited as a break crop in a variety of cereal rotations in southern Australia. Fit for purpose cultivars will underpin the further development of an amaranth industry. New amaranth cultivars have been released by Iowa State University which complement existing lines that were recently imported into Australia from the Crop Research Institute in the Czech Republic. The trialling of a range of these new, as well as traditional, cultivars under Australian conditions will allow them to be more confidently matched to production targets and growing conditions. Amaranth cultivars will be evaluated that are suited for Asian (en choy) vegetable (yield of leaf and appearance), forage (yield of dry matter and protein) and grain (grain yield, protein, and forage quality). Confidence in the expected yield and quality will give farmers reassurance to select amaranth ahead of other break crops and will support processors to further develop innovative products and new markets.
New and Emerging Industries
Stilts Pty Ltd trading as Rounding Up
This project will evaluate the agronomic performance, day length sensitivity, water requirements, leaf/vegetable, grain and feed quality of a series of new and existing amaranth lines. An understanding of the agronomic potential of Amaranth will allow the best performing lines to be matched to the conditions and intended product and will secure the production of amaranth leafy greens, seed and forage for a range of markets. As a novel crop, assessment of the quality and suitability of the leaf/vegetable (protein and appearance), inflorescence plumes (protein and oil), seed (protein, oil and starch) and forage (lignin, digestibility and metabolisable energy) for a range of purposes including animal feed, leafy vegetable and functional food ingredient will be a focus of this project. Amaranth cultivars that are new to Australia will be evaluated; these cultivars carry characteristics that will improve their productivity and utility. They include lines that produce white seeds that are more suitable for processing (and especially as an ingredient in porridges and other processed foods) compared to the traditional black seeded cultivars. Other lines are nonshattering (the seed cases do not split as the seed matures and dries), this avoids a major production hurdle where the seeds are shed prior or during the harvest process. Another line has a dwarf habit with short internodes and is likely to be well suited to leafy green production similar to en choy.
Project Start Date
Friday, January 15, 2021
Project Completion Date
Friday, April 30, 2021
Journal Articles From Project
Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries
Adoption of R&D
NEI - New and Emerging Industries - SM1