Table of Contents
Henderson, T.L., A.A. Schneiter, and N. Riveland. 1993. Row spacing and
population effects on yield of grain amaranth in North Dakota. p. 219-221.
In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), New crops. Wiley, New York.
Spacing and Population Effects on Yield of Grain Amaranth in North Dakota
Henderson, A.A. Schneiter, and N. Riveland
- RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
- Table 1
- Fig. 1
- Fig. 2
Grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), a high protein pseudo-cereal which
originated in Central and South America, was a staple crop of ancient Aztec and
Inca civilizations. Since the mid-1970s, amaranth has received attention as a
new crop for North America. Trials conducted in North Dakota since 1981
indicate that certain cultivars of grain amaranth are well adapted in the
eastern part of this state, producing more than 2000 kg/ha (Henderson et al.
Results of research to determine optimal row spacing have been inconclusive
(Robinson 1986). Grain yield response to plant density has been shown to be
influenced by environments, species, and cultivars (Putnam 1990). Robinson
(1986) reported a decline in yield at populations greater than 210,000
plants/ha. Yet, Haas (1983) identified a much higher range of optimal plant
density, between 323,000 and 360,000 plants/ha. A positive yield response to
increasing plant density was observed for lower populations (20,000 to 60,000
plants/ha) (Edwards and Volak 1980). At excessively high populations,
competition for moisture and nutrients reduces grain yield (Weber 1990). The
relationship between plant density and grain yield may be influenced by
cultivar (Edwards and Volak 1980; Haas 1983).
This study was conducted as part of research at North Dakota State University
to establish production guidelines for grain amaranth in North Dakota. Our
objective was to determine the most suitable row spacing and plant population
for grain amaranth production in North Dakota.
Four grain amaranth cultivars, 'K283' and 'MT-3' (both A. cruentus), and
'K343' and 'K432' (both A. hypochondriacus x A. hybridus), were
evaluated at Prosper and Williston, North Dakota, in 1989 and 1990.
Populations of 74, 173, and 272 thousand plants/ha were established for each
cultivar at narrow (30.5 cm) and wide (76.2 cm) row spacing. Stands were
oversown and thinned by hand to establish the desired populations.
Experimental design was a randomized complete block with a split-split plot
arrangement. Row spacing, established plant population, and cultivars
constituted the main, sub, and sub-sub plots, respectively. All plots were
hand-harvested. Grain yield was determined for each plot. Precipitation was
recorded daily at each environment.
Main effects of row spacing, established population, and cultivar on grain
yield for individual environments are presented in Table 1. In the combined
analysis, a significant environment x cultivar interaction, which can be
attributed to precipitation differences, was obtained for grain yield. All
cultivars exhibited a decrease in grain yield at the driest environment,
Williston 1990, which received only 9.4 cm of precipitation during the growing
season, compared to 21.7 cm at Prosper 1989 and 20.0 cm at Prosper 1990. In
the combined analysis, highest yields were produced by 'MT-3' and 'K283'.
In the combined analysis, established population had a significant effect on
grain yield, with highest yields achieved at the lowest population. The row
spacing x established population interaction was significant for grain yield as
a yield advantage for wider rows at the higher populations (Fig. 1). This
response occurred presumably due to increased competition within the rows which
decreased plant population after establishment, resulting in more water and
nutrients for surviving individual plants in the wider rows.
A similar row spacing x population interaction effect was observed at Prosper
during 1990. To examine the influence of row width and established population
on plant competition, final plant population at harvest was determined for each
plot at the Prosper 1990 environment. A significant row spacing x established
population interaction was observed for final population. Intrarow competition
was greater at the 76.2 cm row width, resulting in a substantial loss of plant
population by harvest time, especially at the higher established populations.
Significant losses in plant population were not observed with the narrower row
spacing. Grain yield increased as final population decreased (Fig. 2).
Results of the combined analysis suggest that at the lowest established
population, row width was not critical. At the higher established populations,
a yield advantage was obtained with wider row spacing, due to lowered plant
density resulting from competition within the rows.
Highest amaranth grain yields were obtained at the Prosper location in eastern
North Dakota, which received more precipitation during the growing season.
'MT-3' and 'K283' (A. cruentus) were the highest yielding cultivars in
the combined experiment. The lowest established population, 74,000 plants/ha,
consistently produced the highest grain yield. Row spacing had no effect at
the lowest population, while at the higher populations, more grain was produced
with the wider (76.2 cm) row spacing. With the wider rows, plants within each
row were spaced closer together, leading to increased competition at high
established populations. This intrarow competition caused substantial losses
in plant numbers after establishment. Grain yield of the surviving plants was
higher as a result of the lowered plant population in the wider rows.
- Edwards, A.D. and B. Volak. 1980. Grain amaranth: optimization of
field population density, p. 91-94. In: Proc. 2nd Amaranth Conference. Rodale
Press, Emmaus, PA.
- Haas, P.W. 1983. Amaranth density report. Rodale Research Center Report No.
RRC/NC-83-8. Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA.
- Henderson, T.L., A.A. Schneiter, B.L. Johnson, N. Riveland, and B.G. Schatz.
1991. Production of amaranth in the Northern Great Plains. In: Alternative
crop and alternative crop production research: a progress report. North Dakota
State Univ., Fargo.
- Putnam, D.H. 1990. Agronomic practices for amaranth, p. 151-162. In: Proc.
4th National Amaranth Symposium. Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA.
- Robinson, R.G. 1986. Amaranth, quinoa, ragi, tef and niger: tiny seeds of
ancient history and modern interest. Station Bul. AD-SB-2949. Agr. Expt.
Sta., Univ. of Minn., St. Paul.
- Weber, L.E. 1990. Amaranth grain production guide. Rodale Press, Emmaus,
Table 1. Mean amaranth grain yield values by environment for main
effects of row spacing, established population, and cultivar.
NSIndicates not significant at the 0.05 level.
||Mean grain yield (kg/ha)|
|Environment ||Prosper 1989 ||Prosper 1990 ||Williston 1990|
|Row width (cm) ||* ||NS ||**|
|30.5 ||867 ||1414 ||344|
|76.2 ||1228 ||1452 ||477|
|LSD 0.05 ||217 ||--- ||31|
|Established population |
|NS ||* ||**|
|74000 ||1114 ||1513 ||479|
|173000 ||993 ||1450 ||410|
|272000 ||1035 ||1337 ||344|
|LSD 0.05 ||--- ||132 ||32|
|Cultivar ||** ||** ||**|
|K283 ||1193 ||1467 ||571|
|K343 ||989 ||1566 ||291|
|K432 ||661 ||976 ||294|
|MT-3 ||1348 ||1724 ||487|
|LSD 0.05 ||180 ||131 ||47|
*Indicates significant at the 0.05 level.
**Indicates significant at the 0.01 level.
Fig. 1. Mean amaranth grain yield values for established population x
row spacing interaction, based on combined analysis of three environments in
North Dakota. (Least significant difference 0.05 = 93.6 kg/ha.)
Fig. 2. Mean amaranth grain yield values as a function of row spacing
and final plant population at Prosper, ND in 1990. (Least significant
difference 0.05 = 185.9 kg/ha and 7781 plants/ha for grain yield and final
Last update September 10, 1997