Amaranthus has several species of grain crop which could be used both as foodstuff and forage. R104,K112,No.1(three varieties of A.crucntus),No.2 (A.hypochondriaus) and No. 3 (A.hydrides),introduced from Rod1 Agricultural Centre in the state of Pennsylvania,U S A,have been planted in the Xilinguole steppe region of Inner Mongolia during 1985—1988. The result shows that R104 produce not only high yield of biomass but also matured seeds while the other four varieties produce also high biomass but less matured seeds or even unmatured seeds. Thus,R104 of premature property has a very bright prospect for its extensive cultivation in cold temperate zone with a non-forst period of only 100 days.
Several comparative tests on the growth and development of R104 have been made with such treatments as various seed-sowing date, water content of soil, salt content of soil and fertilizing,the aim being to examine the biological and ecological properties of R104 and find out technological measures for practical cultivation. The results are as follows.
1. R104 is a kind of temperature plants. Seeds will germinate and grow into seedling only when the daily average temperature is up to 10℃.When average temperature rises up to between 20 and 23℃,the plants will grow fastest. The seed sowing date should be from 1st May to 15 May. If seeds are sowed earlier they will not germinate, but if seeds are sowed too late the plants cannot produce new matured seeds.
2. R104 is a photophilous plant. Under the condition of adequate water, its leaves will not wilt even under the light intensity of 140000LX. But if light intensity is below 20000LX, the plants will grow slowly.
3. R104 is of relatively strong drought-resistant capacity. The Xilinguole steppe region belongs to the semi-arid zone. When total rainfall is about 210mm during growing season of from May to September, the biomass of R104 can still reach a certain level without irrigation, but could be double with it.
4. It is possible to get 100t/ha of biomass and 3000kg/ha of R104 seeds under the condition of irrigation and fertilization.
5. R104 is of strong saline-resistant capacity too, and its plants can develep normally when soil pH value is about pH9 and salt content of soil less than 0.6%.But biomass of R104 will decrease if salt content of soil is more than 0.8%.
The stem, leaf and seed of the R104 plant have high contents of protein, fat, vitamin and mineral elements, The seeds have all the essential amino acids needed by human beings, in particular, the content of lysine being the ghighest. Therefore, to develop entensive cultivation of R104 is of important value for improvement of food stuff quality and as a new source of forage.