Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2008
Publication Date: 9/7/2008
Citation: Cermak, S.C., Isbell, T., Behle, R.W., Evangelista, R.L. 2008. Illinois cuphea progress - 2007 [abstract]. Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference. p. 51.
Technical Abstract: Cuphea (Lythraceae) is an annual plant that produces a small oil seed rich in saturated medium-chain triacylglycerols. The initial oil characterization of a number of cuphea species was done at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research Center in Peoria, Illinois, in the early 1960's. Cuphea PSR23 (Cuphea viscosissima x Cuphea lanceolata) is a newer cross of cuphea that contains high amounts of capric (C-10) medium chain fatty acids which are very useful in the formation of lubricants, soaps and detergents. During the 2007 season, Cuphea PSR23 was grown at two different locations in Illinois (Morton and Princeville). Our lab has successfully planted and harvested cuphea over the past eight consecutive seasons. Some challenges that cuphea has, as a new crop, are an indeterminate growth and a small seed size. With indeterminate growth, the plant flowers continuously throughout the growing season, which is a problem because the early maturing seed pods shatter and drop their seed before harvest. In most cases, the plant is harvested “green” with a moisture level greater than 50%, so without an effective method to deal with high moisture content of the seed, cuphea would not be a successful new crop. The objective of this study was to look at different harvest methods, as well as different harvest dates, and evaluate the condition and amount of harvested seed. Three different harvest experiments were defined. Direct harvest (6600 John Deere Combine with a bean platform) was done at an early and a late date. At the early direct harvest date, a portion of the field was swathed and then harvested (6600 John Deere Combine with a pickup head) at the late direct harvest date. Comparisons between the swathed and direct combined material were made; in general, swathed material was drier than direct harvest material, but depending on the year, the maximum seed yields varied between the different methods and dates. Also will display different problems associated with growing and harvesting cuphea, followed by how these challenges are being addressed, as well future planting conditions and locations.