Developing adapted varieties and optimal management practices for quinoa in diverse environments across Washington State
CSANR Project 112
Quinoa is a highly nutritious and broadly adapted grain crop in high demand in the US and particularly in the Pacific Northwest region. However, very little is known about appropriate varieties and farming practices, including irrigation needs, fertility requirements and potential intercropping strategies to help control weeds and provide supplemental nitrogen. Our project would primarily address the FY12 priority area of breeding, varietal selection and management practices to increase the availability, quality, and production of quinoa across Washington State. Our specific objectives include: 1) continuation and expansion of our variety x nitrogen treatment trials in eastern Washington (Pullman); 2) development of variety x leguminous intercrop x irrigation trials in central (Prosser) and western (Chimacum) Washington to better represent environmental conditions in targeted growing regions; 3) advancement of early generation lines from crosses made in 2011 using the most optimally adapted quinoa varieties as parents; 4) development of relationships between quinoa farmers, wholesalers and marketers. This project will provide vital support to a current graduate student to conduct variety trials that focus on nitrogen use efficiency and salt tolerance among quinoa cultivars and will also assist a second graduate student who will be starting in August 2012 to develop and initiate farmer participatory breeding studies. Our overall goals are to: 1) integrate variety testing of a novel crop with agronomic management practices (irrigation and nitrogen inputs) and agroecological and soil building practices (intercropping) to develop viable quinoa production systems;, 2) initiate and expedite the critical early steps of the quinoa breeding process; and; 3) disseminate information to target diverse audiences using a range of extension outreach methodology.