After three years of trials, Ashley Wiese, Megan Gooding and Garren Knell have just finished harvesting what is believed to be WA’s first commercial quinoa crop.
Mr Wiese said the trio was rapt.
“We were reluctant to take the next step, both marketing and processing, until we knew we could really grow it but this year has given us the confidence to know that it should be able to be grown quite successfully,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of failures in the past with wrong varieties and wrong agronomic techniques but we feel we’ve made leaps and bounds this year.”
The two farmers and agronomist have grown 15ha of the South American super food at Mr Wiese’s Highbury farm, 5ha at Mrs Gooding’s Narrogin property and a trial plot at Lake Grace.
Together they have formed Australian Grown Superfoods and hope the high-value crop will help farmers adapt to climate change by adding more diversity to their cropping programs.
The pseudo-grain is drought, frost and salt tolerant.
Earlier this year, the group received funding from the State Government innovation grants scheme to develop an agronomy package.
Mr Wiese said the plan was to increase production next year after the farmers sured up demand.
The group grow US-sourced medusa and phantom varieties.
“There is no point growing it if we can’t sell it so we’ve got quite a lot of work ahead of us over the next few months to talk to potential customers and make sure we can sure up some demand,” Mr Wiese said.