The main magazine on agribusiness issues, “Proposition” (propozitsiya.com), spoke with the head of the Association of Amaranth and Amaranth Producers Manufacturers, Alexander Duda. During the conversation, several important topics were raised and answers to long-standing, relevant questions were received.
We offer you a material based on this interview. It will allow you to learn a lot of interesting things about the features of growing amaranth in the Ukrainian fields.
Agrotechnological subtleties of growing amaranth
Ukrainian farmers increasingly say that recent years have become quite dry. Therefore, it is necessary to look for new cultures, to carry out the rotation of habitual cultures on drought tolerant ones. This culture is amaranth.
The average yield of this crop is 2 tons of seeds per hectare of arable area, and if we talk about experienced sowing fields, the crop can reach 6 tons per hectare. The cost of one ton – from 25 thousand hryvnia. If we are talking about organic amaranth (for the cultivation of which fertilizers and pesticides and other chemicals were not used), then its cost starts from 35 thousand hryvnia per ton. Therefore, if we consider amaranth from an economic point of view, it is a rather attractive culture.
The economic benefit is provided by the versatile use of amaranth, its high yield of seeds and green mass (up to 250 tons of silage can be obtained from one hectare). The high level of profitability is fueling interest in farmers’ amaranth.
Although we should not forget that the cultivation of culture has certain difficulties. To get a good harvest, you need to make some effort. Alexander Duda, the head of the All-Ukrainian Association of Amaranth and Amaranth Producers, told in detail about the features and intricacies of growing amaranth.
Amaranth nourishes the soil
Amaranth has a high drought tolerance. According to Alexandra Duda, the special difference between amaranth is that he even loves heat – when the air temperature exceeds the mark of 30 degrees, he begins a period of intensive growth.
Another advantage of amaranth is that it saturates the soil with nitrogen and organic matter. Therefore, it is almost the ideal plant for crop rotation, designed for organic farming.
Do not forget that the amaranth is far superior to the vast majority of crops grown on the Ukrainian fields in quantity:
- vegetable protein;
- biologically active substances.
We are talking about the output of these components from one hectare of cultivated area. Therefore, amaranth is actively used in the manufacture of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, used in the manufacture of feed additives.
Where and how is amaranth grown
According to A. Duda, in 2018 a little more than 30 farms were engaged in the cultivation of amaranth. Sown area is different – from several hectares. The largest area used for amaranth sowing is in Transcarpathia. There, a farmer planted 150 hectares of this plant.
In principle, it can be grown throughout Ukraine. However, it grows best in the eastern, southern and central regions. This is due to the fact that it is in these Ukrainian regions that there is enough sunlight and heat to produce the best seeds in quality.
But in more humid regions, the plant is recommended to grow to obtain the volume of seeds, the volume of green mass.
In total, according to 2018, 15 plant varieties have been zoned in Ukraine. Each variety has a different growing season. So there is no problem in order to find the perfect variety for each specific region.
Features of the cultivation of amaranth
Alexander Duda told about the peculiarities of growing amaranth. In particular, he noted the special requirements for the predecessors of the culture – early harvesting, as well as the absence of a large number of crop residues. Based on these requirements, the following predecessors are best suited:
- annual grasses.
In the fall, the soil needs to be processed – to peel the stubble (up to 2 times, but depending on its predecessor – one peeling is also possible), as well as deep plowing.
The following events are held in spring:
- weed control;
- ground leveling;
- before sowing, soil should be cultivated to a depth of five centimeters;
- and then carry out the rolling of the soil.
Such processing allows not only to level the soil, but also to ensure its fine-grained structure.
Dates of sowing depend on the region:
- in southern Ukraine, amaranth is sown before May 10;
- in the central part of Ukraine – until May 15;
- in the northern part of Ukraine – until May 20.
To start sowing, you need to wait for the soil to warm up to 12 degrees in the upper layers. Then seeding is carried out to a depth of 2 centimeters.
In the case when the soil has not yet warmed up, or there is not enough moisture in it, during this period it is recommended to fight weeds, waiting for the precipitation to moisturize the soil. It should be understood that in each individual case one should look for the optimal period for sowing. This is the only way to achieve the best possible seedlings.
In general, amaranth crops, without loss of possible yield, can be carried out until June 1st. If the farmer missed the sowing time, but he is ready to start growing amaranth even taking into account the loss of a part of the crop, then the sowing can be done after June 1, but not later than the 15th.
What varieties of amaranth are grown in Ukraine
As noted by the head of the Association of Producers, varieties created by specialists working at the Kharkiv National Agrarian University and the National Botanical Gardens of them possess good characteristics. N.N. Grishko.
The most common in Ukraine are the following varieties of different vegetation period and features of use:
Among such diversity, each farmer will be able to choose the optimal variety suitable for a particular region. And also choose varieties for different uses.
Material and technical base: what equipment to use for planting and collecting amaranth
Features amaranth seeds in their small size (up to 0.8 millimeters) and low weight (up to 0.8 grams). Therefore, most farmers really experience how to organize the sowing process.
To ensure an efficient amaranth sowing process, it is recommended to use the following types of seeders:
They are able to guarantee the uniformity of seedlings. Also, according to Oleksandr Duda, Ukrainian farmers already have successful experience in using such types of wide-row seeders as Maple and Vesta Profi.
In the event that the farm does not have such seeders, the use of traditional grain seeders is allowed. However, in this case, the seeds must be mixed with sifted, dried earth.
The seeding rate is usually taken to use a large, so that you can use special spring harrows that will allow you to effectively combat weeds in a row. When harvesting the plant density should be from 110 to 150 thousand plants per hectare of arable land.
Separately, it should be noted such strong-growing varieties as Lera and Kharkiv-1. For them, the ideal width between the rows is 45 centimeters. The number of plants per one meter – from 5 to 7 units. Such “parameters” of crops make it possible to ensure the maximum feeding area of each individual plant, as well as the maximum leaf area, plant heights, increase the resistance to amaranth emergence.
It is also allowed to sow amaranth with inter-row spacing of 70 centimeters and with the number of plants from 90 to 110 thousand pieces per hectare of sown area.
If we are talking about sowing amaranth on green fodder, then in this case, ordinary row crops, with a width between the rows of 15 centimeters, are allowed.
For harvesting, it is recommended to use the latest equipment – in particular, this is modern equipment, combines equipped with rapeseed table. Harvested when the seeds are fully mature, and their moisture level will be from 12 to 15%. The seed moisture level for storage should be 10%.
What limiting factors are there
As noted by Alexander Duda, one of the limiting factors of growing amaranth is that the plant is afraid of freezing. Since the seeds are able to germinate only when the soil temperature is above 12 degrees.
On this basis, another problem arises. In the south, until the soil warms to the required temperature, there is little moisture in it.
It is worth remembering the peculiarity of technology – not all farms have in their arsenal the equipment necessary for planting.
Features fertilizer crops amaranth
As the head of the Association of Amaranth and Amaranth Producers says, the plant does not like sour soils, the pH level in which is below 5.5, and also does not like the soil composition in its composition. Preparation of filler for amaranth
If the soil is fertile, then the plant can be grown even without the use of fertilizers. Since the extensive and deep root system allows amaranth to obtain the required mineral substances in the required amount. In addition, it not only synthesizes, but also accumulates nitrogen, thereby making the soil more fertile.
However, this does not mean that fertilizer is not needed at all. In fact, amaranth responds well to additional nutrients.
Alexander Duda also quotes the ratio of consumption of macronutrients directly from the soil — N: P: K = 1: 0.8: 3.
The plant is positively different in that it can completely restore saline soils. Experimental studies have been established – 2-3 years after the start of cultivation of amaranth, the fertility of soils with increased salinity becomes much higher.
In general, the plant is almost an ideal culture for so-called organic farming. It responds well to fertilizer humates, as well as the additional introduction into the soil of various microorganisms.
How to organize the sale of amaranth
It is noteworthy, according to A. Duda, the amaranth producers will have no problems with selling the harvested crop. Enterprises operating in Ukraine for processing amaranth conclude an agreement with farms, according to which they buy back 100% of the future harvest. This scheme gives guarantees to the manufacturer!
This approach is due to the fact that there is an acute shortage of amaranth seeds in the Ukrainian agricultural market. And Ukrainian specialists in the field of seed processing today have already developed advanced technologies that allow to get from one ton of amaranth seeds:
- up to 40 liters of oil;
- up to 350 kilograms of grinded cereals;
- up to 400 kilograms of native flour.
The cost of such products throughout the world is quite high. According to statistics, the annual global turnover in the amaranth oil market reaches $ 500 million.
What products are obtained from amaranth? What industries is it used in?
The bulk of amaranth use is accounted for by the pharmaceutical industry – up to 86%. Another 14% of the total – for the cosmetology industry. Amaranth seeds cleared
Amaranth oil helps in the prevention and treatment of many diseases, including very complex and severe:
- immune system;
- endocrine system;
- of cardio-vascular system;
- skin cover.
In addition, it is effective in removing toxins, toxins and other hazardous substances from the body. Consumption of amaranth oil allows you to activate the recovery processes in the body, to suspend the development of tumors.
Squalene is of particular value in amaranth oil – it helps keep cells young. Thus, cosmetic products based on amaranth oil due to the presence of squalene and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E and other elements are good for prolonging the youth of the skin.
Amaranth is used in the food industry. In particular, grinded cereals are suitable for everyday menu of any person. However, in its characteristics it surpasses the vast majority of cereals – and all this is due to the high content of vegetable protein, which is of high quality.
The composition of the protein from amaranth is close in composition to the mother’s milk, and therefore recognized as ideal for the formation of a diet:
It contains a large number of substances and amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan, etc.
Polished amaranth grain appeared on the Ukrainian market only last year. She began to produce in Nikolaev, at the NPK Amaranth enterprise. Already, Alexander Duda predicts that it is precisely ground amaranth grain that will be sold in the hundreds of thousands of tons every year. As will allow to intensify the cultivation of plants in Ukraine.
Good performance and amaranth flour. It is intended for cooking:
- gluten-free foods;
- bread and other pastries;
- confectionery products.
There are already many bakeries in Ukraine that are engaged in the preparation of products from amaranth flour. Such bread remains soft for a long time.
Amaranth cake, which is ideal for the preparation of compound feeds, is also in demand. Today, such feed successfully produced in Chernivtsi and Dnipropetrovsk regions. It stimulates the rapid weight gain of livestock, and also minimizes the loss of livestock.
Crushed amaranth leaves are a good option for making teas. This tea has a tonic effect, it has a beneficial effect on the immune system, increases the efficiency of the person. Today amaranth teas are produced in three regions of Ukraine – Kiev, Zaporozhye, Nikolaev, but no large company has yet become interested in this kind of product, unfortunately.