Amaranth is a saving culture for farmers living in regions where summer is equally likely to be very rainy and, conversely, hot and dry. Most varieties growing in the temperate zone equally well tolerate both excessive moisture and drought. Initially, amaranth grew in the tropics and subtropics, therefore, it is familiar with tropical showers and the scorching sun. For the same reason, the only condition that this plant “puts” is heat. It is also noted that the yield of amaranth falls in low-light areas.
In Europe, in general, and in its east in particular, purple amaranth, hybrid amaranth and dark amaranth grow best. And the first variety is the undisputed leader and makes up more than 70% of the grain and fodder amaranth grown in this territory. The last two varieties yield the best yield in the regions located to the south of 45 degrees north latitude.
Amaranth crimson least whimsical. North of 60 degrees latitude, however, it does not make sense to grow it, because, even if it succeeds, the cost of cultivation will exceed the income from the crop. In regions located between 50 and 60 degrees north latitude, the plant will require attentive care, and the amaranth will have to spend half of the growing season in greenhouses. South of 50 degrees, the temperature allows you to grow almost all the grain and feed varieties of amaranth crimson.
Seeds of almost all cereal varieties of crimson amaranth germinate at a temperature of 10 degrees. The best is considered 15-18-degree temperature regime. At 20-23 degrees the growth of amaranth is significantly accelerated. If the temperature does not fall below 20 degrees and does not exceed 27 – amaranth ripens in 80-100 days (depending on the variety) as opposed to the standard 100-130 days.
Here lies the main temperature trick. If the seeds began to germinate at 17 and above degrees, and then the temperature plummeted, the plant will direct most of its forces not to growth and development, but to survival and adaptation. As a result, the grain harvest will be extremely low – significantly lower than if the temperature regime from the very beginning was 10-14 degrees.
Important! In the European part of the CIS, amaranth should, if possible, be sown as late as possible. The optimal sowing time is May. Sowing in cold soil and excessively early sowing often lead to weed field overgrowing and extremely weak germination of amaranth seeds.
Temperature differences during the day (night-day) amaranth transfers better than longer ones, depending on weather conditions and other factors (which include, among other things, planting from greenhouses to open space). Therefore, if the spring is expected to be cold or serious temperature fluctuations are predicted, it is better to keep the plant in the greenhouse longer and transplant it to open space only when a stable temperature is established outside, which coincides with the greenhouse or has minor deviations.
On some varieties of crimson amaranth (for example, on the “Voronezhskiy”) it is indicated that they can tolerate slight short frosts down to –3–4 degrees. As a rule, this is true. 4596.970But if frost is expected, amaranth must be grown from the very beginning at low temperatures. For example, the optimum temperature for germinating seeds in this case is 10-11 degrees. Then allowed temperature fluctuations in the range of 6-15 degrees (it is better not to allow sharp drops). After about three to four weeks, the so-grown amaranth will be able, with little or no loss, to endure small frosts.
However, the yield of cold-resistant varieties grown at lower temperatures is traditionally lower than their yield, provided they are grown in heat. “Cold hardiness” of all varieties of amaranth means that they are able to survive and produce at low temperatures, but does not mean that the yield will be comparable to the yield at the optimum temperature for this crop.
Note! During the growing season, the total amount of temperature for the maturation of the seeds of most cereal varieties of amaranth crimson should be 2100-2300 degrees Celsius. The minimum acceptable rate is 2000 degrees for 100-140 days.
For forage varieties (more precisely, those where only green mass will be used) requirements are lower. For seed germination, the same 10-12 degrees are necessary, but later stronger temperature fluctuations are allowed. The yield will also be directly proportional to the amount of temperature during the growing season and the stability of the temperature regime, but drastic changes will affect it less than in the case of grain varieties grown for the production of oil and other food products. The minimum total amount of temperature for the growing season for forage varieties of amaranth should be at least 1000 degrees Celsius.
The amount of water required for growing 1 g of pure amaranth (i.e., dry weight) is very small. According to this indicator, amaranth wins not only in all grains and the vast majority of forage crops, but also is one of the leaders among all the plants in the northern hemisphere. Called the amount of water required for growth of 1 g of the plant, the transpiration coefficient. For most varieties of grain amaranth, the transpiration coefficient is 250, and for fodder amaranth – 230-250.
For comparison: the transpiration coefficient of maize is 330, winter rye – from 340 to 420, and wheat – about 520. And the lowest transpiration coefficient recorded in Europe is 200 and gam-7196 is observed mainly in weather-resistant weeds.
Low water consumption of amaranth is due to two factors.
The first is that amaranth is able to use water very economically. If a significant part of the moisture consumed by wheat evaporates in hot weather, then amaranth “can” keep it almost in full. In addition, it is more “competently” distributes water than most grains. When the dry season begins, amaranth roots nourish the plant little by little, but long enough. While, for example, corn is able to grow relatively quickly in the absence of irrigation, but its reserves are usually short-lived.
The second factor that explains the good growth of amaranth during the dry period is the absence of the so-called “midday rest” or “midday depression.” Other cultures during the day tend to suspend growth processes for several hours (up to five), while spending organic matter on life support. That is, the water, or more precisely the substances formed with its help, disappear as it were. In hot and dry weather losses are especially significant. The amaranth of this phase does not exist: the growth processes with the proper intake of water, mineral substances and light in it do not stop, so it has time to develop completely when analogs only enter the third stage of maturation.
With insufficient water flow, grain amaranth is the first to suffer. The seed yield drops sharply, and the amount of fat in them also significantly decreases. For feed amaranth, the lack of water is not so critical. As a rule, it slightly reduces the juiciness of the leaves, which may be important for manufacturers of silage. The yield drops significantly only if the transpiration coefficient is less than 220-230 (depending on the variety).
To the soils amaranth is not too demanding, but it will not grow anywhere. In terms of soil selection, the main condition for rapid growth and high yield of this crop is good water and breathability. Before sowing amaranth in areas where the soil is excessively dense, the earth is drained beforehand and then its permeability is maintained. Clay soil does not tolerate any variety of amaranth. Loamy and sandy are also considered to be unfavorable soils for this crop, although some fodder and universal varieties, with proper care, give even a relatively good harvest on such soils. However, the cultivation of high-grain varieties of grain in such conditions is considered impractical.
Note! Any varieties of amaranth will grow poorly on waterlogged soils. Therefore, if an increased precipitation is recorded in the region or there are other factors that increase soil moisture, drainage is a prerequisite for obtaining a high yield of amaranth.
The yield of high-grain varieties of grain depends on the cultivation of the soil. With artificial increase of soil fertility, good soil availability of humus and mineral elements, amaranth gives a high yield almost always, regardless of weather conditions. On depleted soils, grain varieties grow quite well, but the nutritional value of the seeds obtained, as a rule, is significantly lower.
The best precursors for grain varieties of amaranth are legumes and cereals. Stern amaranth is less demanding and grows well regardless of the variety of the precursor, if the soil is favorable for it in principle. Any species of amaranth grows well on soils that were previously fertilized with a large amount of manure.
Processing soil for growing amaranth
It is necessary to cultivate the soil under amaranth immediately after harvesting the previous crop. The semi-steam method shows itself best, especially during subsequent planting of grain and universal varieties of amaranth. It consists of two stages:
Plowing the field. It should be held as soon as possible. This ensures an optimal level of moisture, and the soil does not become lumpy in the future, which provides increased air and water permeability.
Cultivation. As a rule, one or two autumn cultivations and two spring cultivations are carried out before sowing amaranth. In case of an excess of weeds, two autumn and three spring cultivations are carried out. The last cultivation is done with harrowing.
Before sowing amaranth, four requirements are required to obtain a good harvest:
- the soil should have loose loose grain structure;
- the soil must be carefully cleaned of weeds;
- just before sowing, the soil must be leveled and rolled, preferably with light rollers;
- It must be fertilized.
Compliance with the first requirement ensures good germination of amaranth seeds; compliance with the second requirement will provide higher yields. The third affects the growth of this crop, fertilization of the soil also contributes to the yield and value of seeds, which is especially important for grain varieties.
The effect of amaranth on the soil
Amaranth favorably affects the fertility of any soil on which it was grown earlier. In ecologically polluted regions, fodder and hybrid varieties are even used specifically to clean the soil for subsequent sowing of more demanding crops. All types of amaranth gamaf1_zoom sufficiently actively absorb pesticides, radionuclides and salts of heavy metals, and some of its varieties require significant amounts of sodium chloride for growth and development. The latter helps to clean the soil, which recorded an excess of salt. If you pick up the appropriate variety of amaranth, for 2-3 years, you can reclaim the salty soil for growing on it, for example, wheat, which sodium in excess does not tolerate.
Also fodder and hybrid amaranth serves as an excellent organic fertilizer (grain, too, but its use as a siderata impractical). To use the plant in this way, it is necessary to mow the green mass when it reaches the peak of ripening, and to plow it into the soil. Green amaranth is able to restore depleted soils for subsequent sowing of legume-cereal crops in 1-2 years.
Amaranth’s high oil varieties, such as Ultra, Kharkovsky-1, all types of Giants and others, require a significant amount of fertilizer. It is also necessary to fertilize the soil when growing particularly resistant varieties, such as “Voronezh”. This will allow to collect a good harvest even in cold spring and other adverse weather conditions. Fodder varieties, such as “Valentina” and others, need less fertilizer, since a good amount of moisture and light, as well as well-permeable soil, is sufficient for a good harvest of green mass. But when breeding forage varieties for sale, it is advisable to use mineral fertilizers, since they increase the nutritional value of amaranth leaves and ultimately justify the costs of them.
Significantly increases the productivity of amaranth of all varieties using the following fertilizers:
- nitrogenous – in the amount of 60-90 kg / ha;
- phosphoric – in the amount of 60-90 kg / ha;
- Potash – in the amount of 150-180 kg / ha.
It also makes sense to lay manure, but not under the amaranth, but under the predecessor culture. The optimal amount of organic fertilizers required for high yield of amaranth, including green mass, is 50-60 t / ha.
It is best to calculate fertilizers individually for each case, based on the estimated removal of mineral substances by amaranth from the soil. The amount of mineral substances, which are necessary for both grain and feed amaranth for good yield, is approximately the following:
- nitrogen – 26-29 kg;
- phosphorus (more precisely, phosphorus oxide) – 19-21 kg;
- potassium chloride (potassium salt) – about 80 kg;
- calcium – 36-39 kg;
- magnesium – 16-17 kg.
The most significant is nitrogen. To obtain a grain yield of 60 c / ha, about 200 kg of nitrogen must be applied to the soil. This is true for varieties such as “Voronezh” and “Giants” (“Orange Giant”, “Red Giant”). For forage crops, 150–180 kg of nitrogen is often sufficient (depending on the variety and on what purpose it is grown – for silage, grass meal and pellets, etc.).
Note! When using the nitrate form of nitrogen, which amaranth prefers to other forms, it is important to carefully calculate the amount of fertilizer and not act on the principle of “the more, the better.” Nitrates can accumulate in the stems and leaves of amaranth (mainly in the stems), which is especially important when growing fodder varieties. Excess fertilizer can cause an excess of the permissible amount of nitrates in the green mass.
Some varieties of amaranth, as already mentioned, require an increased amount of sodium chloride in the soil for growth and development. As a rule, these varieties are enough of this substance in an amount up to 10 mM.
High demands on the mineral saturation of the soil – almost the only serious “whim” of most varieties of amaranth. If all the above conditions are met, this crop provides from 78% germination in all weather conditions, including drought, heavy rain or strong wind.