AMARANTH in a Cover Crop Cocktail Mix

Amaranth

A is for Amaranth.  As the Sage of Omaha said, (to paraphrase), “With all those stock names to study, start with A.”

Amaranthus has over 70 species in the genus, according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth

I have seen amaranth listed as a good sp to include in a cover crop mix, but have found little online evidence of it being used.

It is supposedly a low water use, warm season plant, which comes up quickly, and grows slowly in the heat, and is tolerant of drought and heat.  I’ve also heard, (thanks Gabe B.!) and see the point, that if we sow such a small seed in a mix at depth, the larger seeds break the surface and make it easier for small seeds to come up.

Varieties

In discussion with seed suppliers, of which I can find a few who will sell small packets, and will discuss larger amounts, the grain cvs are preferable, eg Hydrochondriacus.  Tricolor, Bicolor, cruentus, caudatus, gangeticus are other possibilities.

Trial Result.

I have trialled them this year, to find them germinate and grow in the watered garden, sown early Jan, but to produce little in 4 months, and then go to seed.  In the paddock they were lucky to germinate, then died for lack of moisture (making chia look good).  Or could it have been from SU residues, from the previous year or ealier?  A successful trial, in that it shows what will happen in those circumstances.  I wonder what would happen with an early December planting, with more moisture.

Amaranth as a weed.

I am concerned that they could become a weed.    Amaranth is notorious for being hardseeded, so if anything is sown this year, could it germinate next spring and become an in-crop weed?  Red root amaranth around here is a weed which is already seeding in the summer.  Palmer amaranth is not only a bad weed in NSW, there are apparently areas resistant to glyphosate.  We don’t need that here.

What is the global experience with amaranth as a part of a cover crop mix?  Species, varieties?

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About covercropper

G'day, I'm a grain grower in the NW Wimmera area of Victoria, Australia. This blog is to share my journey of exploring cover cropping here, mostly summer mixes /cocktails. How to, what, when, will it work in improving our soils, productivity and profits?
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