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Title: Influence of genotype and sowing date on camelina growth and yield in the north central U.S.

item Gesch, Russell - Russ

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/17/2014
Publication Date: 2/1/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Gesch, R.W. 2014. Influence of genotype and sowing date on camelina growth and yield in the north central U.S. Industrial Crops and Products. 54:209-215.

Interpretive Summary: A large-scale effort is currently underway in the U.S. to replace a significant portion of petroleum use for transportation fuels with biofuels made from plant materials. Part of this will come from biodiesel manufactured from oilseed crop feedstock. Presently, the cost of producing biodiesel is relatively high because feedstock such as soybean oil, which is currently used, is high. Therefore, oilseed feedstocks such as camelina that are cheaper to produce than soybean are being pursued as potential alternatives for making biodiesel. Camelina has been shown to grow well in the western U.S. and Canada, but little is known about its agronomic potential for the northern Corn Belt region of the U.S. A three-year field study was conducted in west central Minnesota to evaluate 10 different varieties of camelina for their yield potential and how much oil their seeds can produce. Also, several different planting dates ranging from April 16 to June 15 were tested to determine the best time to plant camelina. It was found that camelina has a relatively short lifecycle compared to traditional crops like corn and soybean. Two varieties, Calena and CO46, stood out as consistently yielding more seed and oil than the other varieties tested. Generally, seed yields and oil content were highest for camelina planted from late-April to mid-May, which offers a relatively wide window of opportunity to plant camelina in this region of the U.S. Seed yields were as high as about 2100 lbs/acre and seed oil content ranged from 36 to 43%. The seed oil content of camelina is about twice as high as soybean, which is typically about 20%. Results indicate that camelina can be produced as a viable oilseed feedstock for biofuels in the northern Corn Belt and that the best time to plant is about April 20 to mid-May. This information will help establish best management guidelines for producing camelina in the northern Corn Belt region and will be useful to crop consultants and university extension personnel working with farmers to produce camelina as feedstock for biofuels.

Technical Abstract: Camelina (Camelina sativa L.) has gained considerable attention in North America as a potential oilseed feedstock for advanced biofuels and bioproducts. Progress has been made towards characterizing camelina’s production potential for the western U.S. and Canada. However, little has been done to evaluate its potential for the north central region of the U.S. The objectives of the following study were to evaluate plant stand establishment, growth, and yield of 10 camelina cultivars and target the optimum sowing time for spring seeding in the northern Corn Belt region. The study was conducted over three growing seasons between 2008 and 2010 in west central Minnesota, USA on a Barnes loam soil. Sowing dates ranged from 16 April to 15 June over the 3-year study. Plant population density, time to 50% flowering, seed yield, and oil content were affected by sowing date, tending to decline with delayed sowing. Seed yield was significantly affected by cultivar in 2008 and 2009; whereas, oil content was consistently affected by cultivar all 3 years. Across cultivars, seed yields were as high as 2300 kg ha-1 to as low as 669 kg ha-1 and were generally greatest for sowings between late April to mid May. Across sowing dates and cultivars, oil content ranged from about 36 to 43% (wt wt-1) and declined with delayed sowing. Although yield differences tended to be small between most genotypes, the cultivars Calena and CO46 consistently produced high seed yields and oil content. Plant lodging was generally low across cultivars and sowing dates throughout the study. Results indicate that the best time to sow spring camelina in west central Minnesota is from about April 20 to mid May. Further research is needed to optimize other inputs for camelina production in the northern Corn Belt.