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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NEW CROPS AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE CROPPING EFFICIENCY IN SHORT-SEASON HIGH-STRESS ENVIRONMENTS

Location: Soil Management Research

Title: Calendula: A Potential New Oilseed Crop for the Northern U.S.

Authors
item Gesch, Russell
item Forcella, Frank

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 19, 2009
Publication Date: November 19, 2009
Citation: Gesch, R.W., Forcella, F. 2009. Calendula: A Potential New Oilseed Crop for the Northern U.S. [abstract]. The Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops. p. 5.

Technical Abstract: Seeds of calendula (Calendula officinalis) are a rich source of calendic acid (conjugated C18:3), a highly oxidative fatty acid that can be used to replace volatile organic compounds (VOC) as a drying agent in many industrial chemicals including paints and adhesives. Calendula flourishes in temperate climates, and its residues have been shown to have nematicidal properties. Therefore, it may be a beneficial rotational crop for the Corn Belt region of the U.S. where crop diversity is lacking and nematodes are a substantial problem in corn (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max) production. Little is known about calendula’s agronomic potential in the northern U.S. or best management practices for its production. The objective of this initial study is to determine optimum seeding date and yield potential of three calendula genotypes in west central Minnesota on a Barnes loam soil. Carola, an open pollinating cultivar, and two hybrids, 1557-3 and 99276-3, were drill-seeded at a depth of 6.5 mm and a rate of 11.2 kg ha-1 in mid-May, early-June, and mid-June in 2008 at approximately two-week intervals. Seedling emergence was greatest for the earliest sowing, averaging 139 plants m-2 across cultivars. Time to 50% flowering ranged from 52 to 56 days after planting (DAP) for the latest and earliest sowing, respectively. Because of its indeterminate flowering, calendula was harvested when 80% of seed heads had matured. The time from planting to harvest ranged from 104 to 112 DAP, corresponding to 970 to 1015 deg C d accumulated growing degree days (using 10 deg C as the base temperature for calculation). No differences were noted among cultivars for either time to 50% flowering or harvest. Moreover, seed yield did not differ among cultivars, but was greatest for the earliest sowing (mid-May), which averaged 1197 kg ha-1 as compared to 729 and 785 kg ha-1 for the early- and mid-June sowing dates, respectively. Calendula grows well in the northern Corn Belt of the U.S. and yields greatest when sown as early as soybean in this region. Owing to its relatively short life cycle, when sown in May, calendula can be harvested long before corn and soybean, making it an attractive new crop for this region. Additionally, we are examining the potential of calendula residues to inhibit soybean cyst nematode proliferation. Further research will also be needed to optimize agronomic practices for calendula in the northern U.S. and to determine its rotational effects on traditional crops in this region.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014