Chia is a crop that, although it has been developed for a long time in northwest Argentina, represents an opportunity that still has a lot of potential and is currently passing its ideal planting period.
Specialists from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) Salta carried out a study of the crop and highlighted its potential as a diversifying crop in northwest Argentina. Despite its nutritional benefits and adaptability to local climatic conditions, chia faces challenges in its expansion.
Martín Acreche, coordinator of the Ecophysiology team at INTA Salta, emphasized that “chia is presented as an excellent alternative to diversify traditional crops in the northern region, such as soybeans, corn and, in the Lerma Valley, tobacco, due to to their specific climatic needs.”
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Although chia has notable benefits in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, its cultivated area nationwide remains relatively low, approximately 40,000 hectares. Acreche noted: “The fluctuation in the cultivated area is attributed to climatic factors, such as frost, and the variation in international prices.”
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In this context, the INTA specialist explained: “Although chia was cultivated by pre-Columbian populations, our recent research has varied the photoperiod and temperature, determining that the optimal window for sowing in the north of the country extends from the last week from January to the first 15 days of February.”
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In addition, the studies revealed a critical period for the performance of chia, which spans from the expansion of the sixth pair of leaves until flowering is completed. The specialist emphasized: “Once the initial population of plants is established, it is in that period where the producer must pay greater attention to the crop to maximize yield.”
INTA highlighted that “chia emerges as a promising opportunity to diversify agricultural production in the Argentine Northwest (NOA), offering both nutritional and economic benefits to the region.” (Photo: Government of Mexico).
Likewise, the team identified that a density of 21 plants per square meter and a spacing between rows of 0.26 m are key to taking advantage of light, competing with weeds and boosting yield.
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From INTA, they highlighted that “chia is positioned as a promising opportunity to diversify agricultural production in the Argentine Northwest (NOA), providing both nutritional and economic benefits to the region.”
The importance of this research lies in its contribution to the sustainable development of cultivation in the area, where the constant monitoring of progress and findings by the INTA Salta Ecophysiology team will play a crucial role, they explained.
“These investigations are essential to maximize yield and establish appropriate management practices, laying the foundation for a prosperous future of chia in the NOA,” they concluded.