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close this bookAmaranth to Zai Holes, Ideas for Growing Food under Difficult Conditions (ECHO; 1996; 397 pages)
View the documentOther ECHO publications
View the documentAbout this book
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1: Basics of agricultural development
Open this folder and view contents2: Vegetables and small fruits in the tropics
Open this folder and view contents3: Staple crops
Open this folder and view contents4: Multipurpose trees
Open this folder and view contents5: Farming systems and gardening techniques
Open this folder and view contents6: Soil health and plant nutrition
Open this folder and view contents7: Water resources
Open this folder and view contents8: Plant protection and pest control
Open this folder and view contents9: Domestic animals
Open this folder and view contents10: Food science
Open this folder and view contents11: Human health care
Open this folder and view contents12: Seeds and germplasm
Open this folder and view contents13: Energy and technologies
Open this folder and view contents14: From farm to market
Open this folder and view contents15: Training and missionary resources
Open this folder and view contents16: Oils
Open this folder and view contents17: Above-ground (urban) gardens
View the document18: What is ECHO?
View the documentAdditional ECHO publications
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes - issue 52
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes: issue 53
close this folder28 additional technical notes about tropical agriculture
View the documentA few alternate seed sources that we commonly use
View the documentAmaranth - grain and vegetable
Open this folder and view contentsArid region farming primer
View the documentCitrus propagation and rootstocks
Open this folder and view contentsCucurbit seeds
Open this folder and view contentsDry farming
View the documentMuscovy ducks for png villages
View the documentFruit crops
View the documentFruit vegetables
View the documentGrain crops
View the documentGround covers and green manures
View the documentGreen manure crops
View the documentIndustrial crops
View the documentThe lablab bean as green manure
View the documentLeafy vegetables
View the documentLeguminous vegetables
View the documentThe moringa tree
View the documentRecipes to learn to eat moringa
View the documentMiscellaneous vegetables
View the documentThe poor man's plow
View the documentPulses (grain legumes)
View the documentRabbit raising in the tropics
View the documentLetter from fremont regier, mennonite central committee, Botswana (and earlier in Zaire)
View the documentRoots and tubers
View the documentSunnhemp as a green manure
View the documentThe sweet potato
View the documentTropical pasture and feed crops
View the documentThe velvet bean as green manure
Open this folder and view contentsPrinciples of agroforestry
Open this folder and view contentsGood nutrition on the small farm

Grain crops

Grain crops are those that produce an edible dry seed which can be stored for a long period of time. The seeds of grain crops are normally milled to produce a flour, but sometimes they are softened by cooking and/or chemical treatment. The majority have high protein content accompanied by a good content of B vitamins. Some have fair to high oil content and/or Vitamin E. In addition, most have good quantities of carbohydrates, usually as starch. As a group, the grains are used chiefly in the production of breads. Grain crops are literally the staff of life for billions of people. The three most important food crops in the world are wheat, rice, and corn. Somewhat similar grasses include pasta wheat, barley, sorghum, pearl millet, rye, and triticale (a potentially important hybrid between wheat and rye).Teff is a major grain crop in Ethiopia. Buckwheat is an important grain crop from China, but it is not a grass. Amaranth, kaniwa, and quinoa, used extensively in the past by American Indians, are highly nutritious non-grass grains (called pseudo-cereals). Varietal differences are important ingrains. Individual cultivars often have particular seasonal and climatic adaptations. As a rule, crops are planted during a wet season and must mature during dry weather.

See A Comparison of Grain Crops.

• Amaranth.Amaranthus cruentus: Mexican R104 (Rodale). Manna: good producer. Amaranthus hypochondriacus: low growth habit, easy to harvest mechanically (Rodale). HH4/HH5-large yellow heads, excellent yields (USDA). (EDN 3-1, 4-1, 16-5, 23-6).

• Buckwheat. Fagopyrum esculentum. Cool, humid climates. Harvest two months after planting. Short season high altitude nurse crop used to shade ground; green manure; seed high in lysine; used in honey production ;wide soil tolerance; not for hot areas; needs good soil moisture throughout growing season; frost-intolerant. (EDN 10-3, 38-2).

• Corn. Zea mays. Blue-100 day, large full ears, dark blue kernels, drought tolerant and disease resistant; Posole-100 day, large plump ears, drought tolerant flour corn. Papago-80 day, small slender cream-colored ears, drought tolerant flour corn. Rio Grande Red-110 day, 7 ft stalks, 1-2 ears of dark red kernals, this is a drought tolerant flour corn. Larger quantities available from Plants of the Southwest. [Sweet corn: see Miscellaneous Vegetables.] (EDN 16-1, 20-3,4,5, 21-3, 23-6, 28-2).

• Kaniwa. Chenopodium pallidicaule. High protein (16-19%), with well-balanced amino acids; does well on poor, rocky soils at high elevations; also survives frost; temporarily out of stock but would appreciate any sources or information on this plant.

• Millet. Echinochloa turnerana. (Channel Millet)-temporarily out of stock.

• Eleusine coracana (Dragon's Claw or Finger Millet). Less susceptible to bird damage than other millets listed below, low protein, long storage life, sea level to 2500 meters, cool moist climate; tillers.

• Pennisetum americanum (Candlestick Millet). Similar to Pearl millet.

• Pennisetum glaucum (Pearl Millet). Grain not as susceptible to Striga as other species, but very bird susceptible. Plant residue used for livestock feed, house building, fencing, and fuel. Harvesting may be irregular.

• Setaria italica (Foxtail Millet). Cooked whole, or made into meal, plant is used for hay or silage. Highly drought tolerant. Sea level to 200 m.

• Panicum sp. (Proso or Hog's Millet) Used as human and animal food, much the same as rice, or in flour. Short season, high in amino acids and carbohydrates. Wide soil variety, not frost tolerant, low water requirement, but not as drought resistant as other grains, due to shallow roots.

• Oats, Naked. Avena nuda. An oat that has no hull.

• Quinoa. Chenopodium quinoa. High protein; seeds eaten like rice; grows well at high elevations on poorly drained lands, in cold areas and in drought. Day-neutral and equatorial varieties available (EDN 4-4, 11-3, 46-1,2,3). 'Ingapirca' has very low saponins requiring only light washing; best for very high altitudes, 3000-3600 m on equator; wind, frost and drought tolerant; 400-800 mm rain/yr; not tolerant of humidity. 'Tunkahuan' also has low saponins requiring only light rinsing; 2200-3400 m on equator; 600- 1200 mm rain/year, humidity-tolerant. 'Appelawa', 'Kaslala' are our Bolivian types, and 'Colorado 407' is a Chilean type.

• Sorghum. Sorghum bicolor. Giza 114-stalks also burned as fuel (Egypt). Bird-resistant-dwarf variety low in tannins; do not roast (EDN 46-5)(EDN 25-1, 32-6). Sweet Sorghum and Striga-resistant varieties available.

• Teff. Eragrostis tef. Red and White types. Ethiopian staple in bread. Small seeds, self-pollinated, 3' tall, matures in 4 months.

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