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Title: Early planting dates maximize winter annual field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) yield and oil content

item Matthees, Heather
item EBERLE, CARRIE - University Of Wyoming
item Forcella, Frank
item Gesch, Russell - Russ

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2017
Publication URL:
Citation: Dose, H.L., Eberle, C.A., Forcella, F., Gesch, R.W. 2017. Early planting dates maximize winter annual field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) yield and oil content. Industrial Crops and Products. 97:477-483.

Interpretive Summary: Field pennycress can be found throughout North America and is generally considered a weed. However, pennycress shows great potential as a source of oil for renewable biofuel. Field pennycress is a winter annual, meaning it is planted in the fall and overwinters before resuming growth in the spring and producing harvestable seeds. However, little is known about best management practices for growing pennycress commercially. This research was conducted to determine the best time to plant pennycress in the fall to maximize yields and oil content. Pennycress was seeded over several fall planting times, ranging from late August to late November in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Both yield and oil content of pennycress was greatest when planted in late August and early September. Planting pennycress in August or September is recommended as these early planting times allow the crop a longer period to grow, potential for greater rainfall accumulation, and warmer soil temperatures.

Technical Abstract: Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.), a common weed species in North America, has received attention in recent years as a potential oilseed feedstock for biofuel production. However, little is known about best practices for its production as a managed crop. The objective of this study was to determine optimum sowing date to maximize pennycress yield, oil content and crude protein. Three field experiments spanning three crop-years were conducted in Morris, MN, USA. Average crop-year precipitation ranged from 240 to 407 mm. Pennycress was no-till seeded on 12 dates, from late August to late November at a rate of 6.7 kg ha-1. Seed yield and oil content ranged from 99 to 388 kg ha-1 and 26.7 and 36.1%, respectively. Pennycress yields and oil content were maximized with earlier planting dates. Yield was not related to in-season environmental variables, such as cumulative precipitation, soil temperature at planting or accumulated photohydrothermal time (PhHTT). However, oil content was maximized under greater precipitation (r2=0.885), warmer soil temperatures (r2=0.486) and greater PhHTT when modeled at 2 and 25 cm soil depths (r2=0.571 and r2=0.477, respectively) indicating the influence of providing a sufficient environment for a long maturation period to increase oil accumulation in seeds. Conversely, longer growth period reduced seed crude protein. Although pennycress protein is expected to have industrial uses, managing for yield and oil content is preferred. Results indicate that seeding pennycress in late August or early September in the northern Corn Belt maximized yields and oil content.