Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 21, 2005
Publication Date: September 21, 2005
Citation: Gesch, R.W., Forcella, F., Olness, A.E., Archer, D.W., Hebard, A. 2005. Agricultural management of cuphea and commercial production in the United States. In: Pascual-Villalobos, M.J. et al. editors. Proceedings of 2005 Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops. International Conference on Industrial Crops and Rural Development, September 17-21, 2005, Murcia, Spain. p. 749-757. Technical Abstract: Cuphea is a newly developed oilseed crop that produces seed rich in small- and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFAs are highly valued for manufacturing soaps, detergents, personal care products, and industrial lubricants. Our research has focused on developing best management practices for cuphea production utilizing conventional technologies. Our long-range goal is to provide an economically viable new crop to help diversify cropping systems in the northern U.S. A semi-domesticated genotype, PSR23, developed through the interspecific hybridization of Cuphea viscosissima Jacq. (native to the U.S.) x C. lanceolata W.T. Aiton (native to Mexico), performs well in temperate climates. PSR23 is an annual plant that has a relatively shallow root system, a high water requirement for growth, and prefers mild temperatures, particularly during the reproductive phase. Using best management practices developed by our team, seed yields in excess of 1000 kg ha-1 have been achieved. The summer of 2004 marked the first year for an experimental commercialization of cuphea. Technology Crops International, in cooperation with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, contracted six farmers within a 32 km radius of Morris, Minnesota (45.35 deg N, 95.53 deg W) to produce from two to four ha each of cuphea for a total of 18.6 ha. The crop that was harvested varied in seed yield from approximately 78 to 744 kg ha-1. Valuable knowledge was learned through this experience that might not have been gained by plot-scale experiments alone. Overall, the 2004 commercialization project made considerable progress in advancing cuphea towards large-scale production. This paper summarizes some of our key research findings and reports results from the 2004 commercialization project.