Effects of fertilization and tillage system on growth and crude protein content of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Wild.): An alternative forage crop
A field experiment was conducted to determine the effects of fertilization and tillage on growth, yield and quality of quinoa crop (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). The agronomic performance and nutritive value of quinoa was analyzed in order to define alternatives to local forages for dry-season feeding of ruminants in the Mediterranean region. The experiment was laid out in a split-plot design with two replicates, two main plots [conventional tillage (CT) and minimum tillage (MT)] and sub-plots (fertilization treatments: control, cow manure, inorganic fertilization 100 kg ha(-1) (N1) and inorganic fertilization 200 kg ha(-1) (N2)). The results indicated that quinoa growth was influenced by both tillage and fertilization. The lowest height and dry weight were found under MT. Moreover, the lowest height and dry weight (8205 kg ha(-1) and 8020 kg ha(-1) for CT and MT, respectively) were found under control treatment (no-fertilization). Concerning the nitrogen content there were no significant differences between CT and MT systems. In addition, the highest quinoa nitrogen content was observed for N2 treatment (200 kg N ha(-1)). Moreover, the highest nitrogen content was measured at 150 DAS. Concerning the crude protein content, there were no significant differences between CT and MT systems. In addition, there were significant differences in crude protein between fertilization treatments. The greatest value was observed for N2 treatment. Moreover, the highest crude protein yield (2481 kg ha(-1) and 2356 kg ha(-1) for CT and MT, respectively) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) were found under N2 treatment. In addition, ash was not influenced by both tillage systems and fertilization treatments. Data indicate that quinoa crop could be used as alternative to legumes for protein production to feed ruminant animals.