In order to secure a successful cultivation of quinoa in Northern Europe, several aspects must be considered. The only cultivars to grow are daylength neutral varieties developed in Europe. Establishment of the crop is critical, as all small seeded crops are sensitive to a shallow sowing depth in a uniform and humid seed bed. Next important issue is weed control, which should be done as carefully and precisely as possible with hoeing between the rows. Harvest takes place when seeds are mature, and plants are dry.
The disease of most importance in quinoa is downy mildew (Peronospora quinoae), which is always present where quinoa is sown. It does have a negative effect on yield, but normally the disease is not affecting final quality of seeds. If the crop is well established and in good growth, the effect of disease is less than if climate is cold and humid, and plant density is high (Danielsen et al., 2001, 2002).
Yield levels in Northern Europe are normally 1-2 t ha-1, but with potentially higher yields as demonstrated in plot trials (Jacobsen et al., 1994; 2010); Jacobsen, 1997; Schulte auf’m Erley et al., 2005).
Most quinoa is bitter, that means they contain saponin in the seed hull. The seed has to be dehulled and washed before consumption, which is a technique which is still not in place in Europe. In South America good processing plants have been built during the last ten years, but the capacity is too high and they are too expensive at the moment, when quinoa production is just being build up. Smaller equipment developed for quinoa is being tested.
Customers will together with the seeds also receive guidance in cultivation.