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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Planting Date and Nitrogen Fertilization Effects on Lesquerella Production

Authors
item Nelson, John - DEPT PLANT SCI
item Dierig, David

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 12, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Oil from the seed of lesquerella has potential for use in cosmetics, industrial, and defense applications. Castor oil, imported from other countries, now supplies these markets. Lesquerella could eliminate the need of costly and unstable imported oil provided that the proper agronomic management of the crop is defined. The effect of when the crop is planted, ,and the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied were investigated in central Arizona at the University of Arizona, Maricopa Agricultural Center. Plantings done in September had higher seed yields than those in October, November, or February. When nitrogen was added at a rate of 60 or 120 KG/ha, plant dry matter and seed yields increased. This study demonstrates two simple ingredients for increasing seed yields which should directly result in greater profits to the producer and acceptability of lesquerella as a new industrial crop.

Technical Abstract: Lesquerella [Lesquerella fendleri (Gray) Wats.] is a potential crop plant that produces seeds containing hydroxy fatty acids similar to those in castor. An important step in the commercialization of this plant for the southwestern desert regions of the United States is the development of an efficient agronomic production system. Field experiments were conducted during the 1991-92, 1992-93, and 1993-94 growing seasons at the University of Arizona, Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, Arizona, to determine the effect of planting date and nitrogen fertility on lesquerella seed production. These experiments indicate that fall plantings are necessary to obtain high yields. September plantings generally produced higher seed yields than October or November plantings February plantings produced low yields and appear to be too late for a growing season that ends in June in central Arizona. In all years, lesquerella responded to nitrogen (N) fertilizer. The addition of 60 to 120 kgN/ha resulted in increased dry matter and seed yields. Nitrogen fertilizer had no effect on 1000-seed weight but decreased seed oil content in 1993-94. There is some evidence that increasing the N rate decreases seed oil content in lesquerella.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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