Title : Development of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) as a new multi-purpose crop in Israel
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd., Amaranthaceae) is an environmental stress-resilient crop of increasing global importance. Quinoa grains exhibit high nutritional value as they have a high protein level, contain all the essential amino acids, are gluten-free and are also rich in bioactive compounds. Quinoa is also evaluated worldwide for its potential use as a forage crop due to the high nutritional value of the entire plant for livestock. In a previous study, six quinoa accessions were sown in northern Israel at two different winter dates for two years using scarce irrigation. In plots sown in November 2016 and 2017 or January 2017 and 2018, hay dry matter (DM) yield ranged from 8,820-12,310, 5,270-8,850, 11,480-12,710 and 10,190-12,340 kg?ha-1, respectively; grain yield ranged from 3,220-4,730, 1,540-2,220, 4,010-5,630 and 4,280-6,360 kg?ha-1, respectively; straw yield ranged from 4,580-9,180, 550-1,000, 5,230-6,420 and 3,220-4,170 kg?ha-1, respectively. Quinoa hay and straw quality were high, as crude protein concentration reached 19.9% and 10.6%, respectively with an in vitro DM digestibility (IVDMD) of 75.8% and 54.2%, respectively. This showed that high quinoa hay biomass and grain yield, as well as high hay quality, suggest a high prospect for quinoa cultivation in Israel and other Mediterranean countries, as a dual-purpose crop for grain production and livestock feed. In another study, we evaluated the row-spacing effect on quinoa growth, yield, and grain quality under Mediterranean conditions. We hypothesized that lower row spacing would reduce quinoa stem diameter and increase yield, but may reduce grain quality. Two quinoa accessions were sown in Northern Israel with 16, 26 or 80 cm between rows during two consecutive years, on November and January each year. Plant density at harvest ranged from 22-260 plants m-2. Plant height and stem diameter ranged from 77-126 and 6.3-10.5 cm, respectively. Hay, grain and straw yield ranged from 2,259-17,979, 1,604-4,266 and 1,212-3,660 kg?ha-1, respectively. Grain protein content (PC) ranged from 5.2-14.2 and thousand-grain weight (TGW) from 2,033-3,446 mg. Plant density, hay, grain and straw yield were negatively correlated to row spacing. Stem diameter was positively correlated to row spacing, while there were no correlations between this parameter and plant height, grain PC or TGW. Results indicated that 16 cm between rows may be optimal, as this produced the greatest yields with no effect on grain quality. However, as it may result in plant lodging, 26 cm row spacing should also be considered.