Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE02-406.
This project explored whether it is practical and profitable to grow quinoa in western Maine. This grain crop is grown mostly in the intermountain West, and its potential as an alternative crop in the Northeast could improve farm profits.
The project was essentially a success, in that it showed that the crop can be grown, but during the project the quinoa was subject to heavy pest damage from the diamondback moth. This was an unexpected result, since the moth does not eat the crop in other parts of the country. The growing season during the test was also unusually hot and dry and the plots were prone to weed infestation. Still, the crop recovered from the moth predation, the weeds, and even a June frost and proved to be a promising crop for New England.
Eight strains were tested, and the right techniques for seeding, pest management, and harvesting still need to be developed. The farmer and the technical advisor are encouraging the experiment station to continue growing quinoa and developing the knowledge required to grow the crop efficiently. Quinoa is used as a grain substitute for people who cannot tolerate gluten, and is a traditional native crop in Bolivia and the Peruvian Andes.