DEAR NEW FARM:
I'd like to learn about disease problems The Rodale Institute
may have found with grain amaranth. We are promoting the crop
in East and West Africa.
Thomas J. Post,
Team leader for CRWRC (Christian Reformed World Relief Committee)
Dr Paul Hepperly takes this one...
DEAR DR POST:
Grain amaranth was a love of Robert Rodale, who funded a
breeding program in the 1980s. This program was successful
in developing grain amaranth with large seeds of excellent
nutritional quality that did not shatter prior to harvest.
The breeding program was stopped in the 1990s following
Robert Rodale’s passing, and the breeding materials
were deposited into the USDA’s Germplasm Repository
in Fort Collins, Colorado and in China. I believe China still
has an active breeding programs from these materials.
One of Robert Rodale's great interests in grain amaranth
was based on its excellent drought tolerance. In his book
Three Lives he holds grain amaranth up as an important
crop for Africa for this very reason.
I am unaware of any pathology work that was done at the
Institute with grain amaranth; I believe you should seek outside
The Rodale Institute for this expertise.
Best of luck,
Rodale Institute research manager
Also, North Dakota State University offers specialty
crop profiles, including one on amaranth: www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/procrop/spc/amaran03.htm.
us with comments, suggestions and questions.