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Field management

Fertilizer application

Although amaranth is a low management crop and can grow in poor soils, applying organic fertilizer increases yield.
Amaranth is a heavy feeder and a nitrogen lover. Use 50 kg DAP/acre or use manure at a rate of 6 tons/ acre. For infertile soils use 100kg DAP /acre.
Organically grown amaranth is more preferred in the market.

Weeding

Amaranth grows very slowly during the first two weeks after germination while weeds grow faster and overtake amaranth if not attended to. Hence 1ST weeding should be done within the 2nd week after germination between the rows to reduce weed competition. 2nd weeding is best done as soon as weeds appear after hilling (2 – 3 weeks after the 1st weeding).
Herbicides cannot be used since the crop is in the weed family.

Thinning

This determines yields since Amaranth is a heavy feeder and hence thinning gives isolation distance to give it space to feed from. It’s best done in the 3rd week. Remove plants from the centre and leave only 3 plants to grow, set like a traditional firestones. In the 5th week thin to leave only 1 plant/hill.

Hilling

This is done after thinning by earthing up the crop. This gives roots enough space to spread and avoid lodging and diseases.

Irrigation

Although amaranth is relatively drought tolerant, yet insufficient water will reduce yield. Water should be applied especially just after sowing or transplanting to ensure a good stand. As a rule, the plants should be irrigated if wilting occurs at noontime. Another way to estimate soil moisture content is to take a handful of soil from the bottom of a 15-cm deephole. Squeeze the soil. If it holds together when you release your grip, there is sufficient soil moisture; if the soil crumbles, it is time to irrigate. Irrigate thoroughly to maintain vigorous plant growth. Avoid over-irrigation, which may enhance disease development and nutrient leaching. Drip irrigation or micro-sprinkler irrigation is recommended in areas with limited water supply

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