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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370763

Research Project: Integrated Agroecosystem Research to Enhance Forage and Food Production in the Southern Great Plains

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Title: Site suitability analysis incorporating disease prediction in castor (Ricinus communis L.) production

Author
item Witt, Travis
item Flynn, Kyle
item ZOZ, TIAGO - State University Of Mato Grosso Do Sul
item MONTEIRO, EDUARDO - Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA)

Submitted to: Springer Nature Applied Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/28/2020
Publication Date: 10/15/2020
Citation: Witt, T.W., Flynn, K.C., Zoz, T., Monteiro, E.B. 2020. Site suitability analysis incorporating disease prediction in castor (Ricinus communis L.) production. Springer Nature Applied Sciences. 2:1820. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42452-020-03602-4.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42452-020-03602-4

Interpretive Summary: Castor is an important industrial oilseed crop used in the production of nylon, cosmetics, and many industrial lubricants. The U. S. stopped growing castor in the 1970s, so castor oil is imported from India, China, and other countries. Currently, in the U. S. there is interest in using castor oil for biofuel production. This study evaluated possible locations for castor production in the U. S. using climatic, soils/geophysical, and disease data to predict the growth and yield of castor. Illinois had the highest percentage of land that could be used for castor production. However, Texas, due to its large size has more acres (~8.2 million) suitable for castor production. The prediction method was very good at determining where castor production could occur when compared to research data obtained in the southern (< 40' N latitude) U. S. This study provided information to allow for the identification of sites for castor farms in the U. S.

Technical Abstract: Castor (Ricinus communis L.) is an important industrial crop used in the production of nylon, cosmetics, and many industrial lubricants. Currently, castor production in the U.S. has nearly ceased for > 45 years, resulting in vast imports of castor oil to meet U.S. demands. Renewed interest in this crop, especially the possibility of its use as a biofuel, has increased the desire to learn more about where it can be produced. This study evaluated possible locations for castor production through site suitability analysis. This analysis determined potential sites for castor production by evaluating geospatial climatic, soils/geophysical, and disease data, the major drivers of castor growth and yields. The site suitability analysis determined that 26% of the contiguous U.S. is highly suitable for castor production. The state of Illinois has the highest percentage of arable land highly suitable for castor production (78%). However, due to its large size, Texas has the most land area highly suitable for castor production (~3.3 million ha). Validation of the site suitability analysis was obtained through ground-truthed data obtained from recent environmental studies testing various castor genotypes. For the southern U.S. (< 40' N latitude) the regression analysis interested in site suitability point data versus performance (oil yield) at known growing sites resulted in a significant result (R2=0.50, p<0.01). Geospatial averaging site suitability values for 1km buffer of those growing sites, further improved regression analysis (R2=0.62, p<0.01). The findings of this study provide a method to perform site suitability for novel crops such as castor using data associated with agronomic and disease characteristics. Moreover, the analysis provides suggestion that castor could easily be reintroduced to U.S. agricultural practices.