This article is focused, most likely, on novice farmers or those who have long been in agriculture, but have not yet decided to engage in the cultivation of amaranth. After reading it, you will see that there is no longer any reason to abandon the idea of cultivating amaranth, because growing this plant will allow you to improve the economic condition of your farm.
This material is based on the work of three specialists in the field of agriculture. This is a doctor of agricultural sciences, professor V. Shcherbakov, a candidate of agricultural sciences, associate professor T. Yakovenko, a graduate student of the department of plant growing S. Kogut. All of them are employees of the Odessa State Agrarian University.
Ready to plunge into the world of agricultural amaranth? Then let’s go!
“Amaranth” in Greek means “eternal”, “amaranthos” – such that it never spoils. But the ancient civilizations of the Incas and Aztecs called the plant as “The gift of the gods.”
In the thirties of the twentieth century, amaranth was studied in the former Soviet Union. The first who was interested in the plant was N.I. Vavilov, who learned about amaranth during his business trip to the countries of Latin America.
Nowadays there is a real flourishing of culture, which is caused by a lot of research conducted by scientists in different parts of the world. During scientific research, it was possible to establish many valuable and simply useful properties of the plant, including:
- resistance to adverse environmental effects;
- high value of grain and green mass;
- ability to adapt to conditions with a small amount of moisture.
How to use amaranth
The yield of green mass of amaranth is truly the highest – up to 1000 centners from each hectare of the sown area. Greens are used in animal husbandry, both fresh, and to create silage, protein-vitamin concentrate.
In its amino acid composition of proteins, amaranth leaves approach alfalfa leaves, but, in turn, have a higher content of lysine. Amaranth leaf protein is close to the ideal protein, which is great for fattening pigs.
Interestingly, most of the seed of amaranth is the germ. Amaranth has a fairly high level of seed yield (up to 30 quintals per hectare of the sown area), which makes it possible to use it to produce protein concentrate.
Note. From the experience of scientists from the United States of America it is known that the use of grain is especially effective when fattening broilers.
From the seeds of amaranth oil is obtained, which is characterized by high bactericidal activity and has an excellent antitumor effect.
Amaranth seed oil also contains about 8% of the substances that are used as raw materials for the production of steroid drugs. Amaranth grain has other important elements and substances. At the same time – studies of this plant are still ongoing.
Amaranth for human nutrition
Amaranth can be used in the daily diet of man. Foods that are obtained from the seeds of this plant, prevent dangerous mutations in children and atherosclerosis in the elderly.
The young shoots and leaves of amaranth are incredibly rich in essential amino acids, carotene. Also present in them:
- micro and macronutrients;
- vitamins (A, C, riboflavin)
- folic acid.
Greens are used to prepare nutritious and even therapeutic and preventive dishes, including salads.
Amaranth greens are also useful in that it provides effective removal of radionuclides and heavy metals from the body.
Note. Some species of amaranth with well-colored leaves and drooping inflorescences have long been used in ornamental horticulture.
Growing amaranth: what is the interest of farmers in this
Amaranth may also be of interest to the national economy because it requires little moisture. Therefore, it can be grown in relatively dry regions without the need to create an efficient irrigation system.
Today the whole world is interested in this culture. Diet stores and shops in the United States can now buy cookies, pasta and macaroni, bread and more. In general, the range of amaranth products includes at least four dozen items in each profile outlet.
In addition, grain, flour, butter, starch is sold. Biomass is used to produce forage and ethanol.
Given all this, it is not surprising that amaranth is a really valuable and sought-after plant. That is why it is extremely profitable for farmers to grow it.
Prospects for growing amaranth in Ukraine
In Ukraine, questions of biology, breeding, and the technology of growing amaranth were especially actively studied in the conditions of Polesia and forest-steppe, and partly in the arid steppe zone.
All research results have shown how high the capacity of amaranth culture is, which causes a fairly high level of economic efficiency in the production of amaranth grain.
Interestingly, back in 2003, the Odessa Regional State Administration proposed that agricultural producers and farmers allocate up to 25 thousand hectares for amaranth crops.
Features of growing amaranth are also actively studied in Ukraine for many years.
What results have been achieved?
In recent years, the production of amaranth and amaranth products in Ukraine has been actively developing. It is worth mentioning the fact that last year Gromadska organization “Asotsiaatsiya virobnik amaranth and amaranth production” was established. This was another additional impetus to the popularization of this plant.
Association members regularly participate in various exhibitions. The main goals of the Association are to promote the development of the agrarian sector of Ukraine in terms of coordinating the actions of amaranth growers and processors who use seeds, meal, flour, oil, leaves and inflorescences, green mass in their process. More information about the activities of the Association can be found on its website.
All of the above once again proves the promise of amaranth, as well as its unsurpassed properties, helping both ordinary consumers and producers. The first – get a quality, natural product, the second – a good income.