Evaluation of Sowing Time of Quinoa in a Potato-based Cropping System in Cool temperate Agro-ecological Condition of Haa, Bhutan

Lhachola, Yadunath Bajgai, Karchung & Tirtha Bdr. Katwal

ABSTRACT

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a native crop of South America that has shown high adaptation potential under Bhutanese conditions since its first introduction in 2015. Globally, it is referred to as the healthiest food due to its high nutritional content. The study aimed to investigate best sowing dates for quinoa and determine the possibility of cultivating it as a second crop after potato in Haa. The research was conducted in Katsho Gewog (~2700 masl) in Haa district which falls under cool temperate agro-ecology in Bhutan. The experiment was laid out in a randomised block design to test two quinoa varieties: Amarilla Marangani (AM) and DOA-1-PMB-2015 (DOA). They were planted at five sowing dates from 15 June to 15 August 2019 at 15 days interval. Sowing dates had a positive effect on the growth and productivity of quinoa due to differences in temperature and precipitation. Highest seed yield of both the varieties was obtained when quinoa was sown on 15 July, suggesting best sowing date of quinoa between 1st week to mid-July. Amarilla variety provided the highest grain yield at 409.30 kg/acre with a corresponding highest plant height of 77.31 cm for 15th July sowing. Similarly, DOA’s highest yield was 369.63 kg/acre with a plant height of 56.60 cm for the 15th July planting. The least yield and plant height were obtained for quinoa planted on 15th August. Hence, sowing Amarilla Marangani variety later than 15th July in Haa risks the crop to extreme winter temperatures coinciding with its critical growth stage. Quinoa as a second crop after potato could be possible provided sowing is timed before 15 July. Another alternative could be the use of relay cropping of quinoa with potato if due care could be taken during potato harvest which is a gap for further study. However, DOA variety could be used for late July sowing due to its shorter growing duration.

Keywords: Quinoa, Sowing date, Bhutan, Agro-ecological zones, Yield of quinoa, Weed pressure

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