Funding: NSERC Engage
The specific challenge is to obtain a consistent commercial crop yield (1000 kg/ha) on Ontario soils. In addition to the negative impact of weed pressure on yield, findings from the preliminary research indicate that planting density could have a significant impact on quinoa yield. The general sowing rates for quinoa production are high in case of stand reduction. Lower planting density results in larger stem diameters, more branching, a faster maturity rate and higher yield per plant. Optimizing planting density can greatly influence seed yield and weed pressure. Reducing the within and between row spacing can result in fast canopy closure and shade out weeds; however, competition between individual plants can also occur. There is no herbicide registration for these crops, thus weed control and management is a significant factor in commercial production. In addition, there is a great demand for organic quinoa, thus alternative practices to conventional herbicide use are needed. Two years of production research has proven its ability to grow as a viable crop in Ontario. The challenge is to obtain a consistent stand and seed yield, which can be influenced by optimizing the planting density for Ontario.