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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Agricultural Systems Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Determine how environmental variation influences oil seed performance across and between farm fields in different growing regions. Integrate new in-line optical sensing into harvesting and crushing to enhance feedstock quality and stage feedstock supply quality with conversion scheduling.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
A plot combine equipped with a grain gage and harvesting data system will be used to measure oilseed yields in fields in Oregon, Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota. A ruggedized instrument will be installed in the combine’s threshing system to estimate oil content of harvested seed. Yield and oil content will be measured in small distance intervals while driving the combine on a linear transect in a given field. Satellite imagery will be acquired of the field sites before flowering and correlated with ground data to provide spatially distributed inputs for crop modeling. Remote sensing and a combination of remote sensing and crop simulation modeling will be used to forecast crop yield and seed oil content at the regional scale. A set of measurements will be acquired by conducting a series of small plot experiments in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Oregon. Phenotyping characters (e.g., crop height, leaf area index, plant canopy reflectance, and canopy temperature) indicating a genotype’s ability to respond successfully to drought stress will be measured once per week using hand-held instruments. This information will be used to improve the calibration/validation of the ALMANAC model simulations of canola. In a crushing plant, a calibrated spectrometer will be mounted on the inlet of the expeller to monitor the seed oil concentration. Grain samples will be manually taken for laboratory analysis and validation of the spectrometer’s prediction model. In-line oil seed information will be used together with mass flow measurements of seed and oil to compute extraction efficiency and control the expeller.

3. Progress Report:
ARS Sidney, MT was selected as one of ten locations to participate in the plant stress trial portion of the NIFA grant “Accelerated Development of Commercial Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) Fuel from Redesigned Oil Seed Feedstock Supply Chains”. Six winter- and twelve spring-type crucifer oilseeds were successfully planted during Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, respectively. Measurements were taken during the course of the growing season to include crop water and nitrogen use, biomass and seed yield, and weekly accounts of leaf area index, canopy spectral reflectance and temperature, plant height, phenology, and pests. Communication with grant participants is via email and monthly to bi-monthly teleconference meetings.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/24/2017
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