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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #371597

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Cropping Systems of Warm-season Grasses for Forage, Feedstocks, Syrup, and Turf

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Title: Economics of intercropping loblolly pine and oilseed crops for bio-jet fuel production in the United States

item AKTER, HOSNE ARA - University Of Georgia
item DWIVEDI, PUNEET - University Of Georgia
item Anderson, William - Bill
item Lamb, Marshall

Submitted to: Agroforestry Systems
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2020
Publication Date: 1/2/2021
Citation: Akter, H., Dwivedi, P., Anderson, W.F., Lamb, M.C. 2021. Economics of intercropping loblolly pine and oilseed crops for bio-jet fuel production in the United States. Agroforestry Systems. pp. 584-585.

Interpretive Summary: There is currently about 14 million hectares of loblolly pine in plantations in Southern United States. As pine is harvested for timber, paper or other uses, they are replanted to pine seedlings. These seedlings are spaced to allow growth, and this gives plantation owners the potential of growing useful plants in the alleys between rows of trees. Two of the possibilities are carinata (Brassica carinata) or white lupin (Lupinus albus) which are oil-seed crops. Carinata is similar to canola, however, the oil from the seed is not edible. The oil from this oil-seed crop has researched and can be used to produce biodiesel or alternative aviation fuel. White lupin is a legume that produces seed that could also be converted to biofuel. White lupin plants and seed has the advantage of being edible for livestock. This study determines the profitability of using these two crops in an intercropping system within newly planted pines for the first 8 years of pine growth. The results from the modeling scenarios indicates that landowners could increase profits with proper intercropping spacings and acceptable climates. Actual field studies are underway to determine the feasibility of these scenarios.

Technical Abstract: Currently, there are 13.9 million ha of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) in the southern region of the United States. Harvested hectares could be used for intercropping oilseed crops such as carinata (Brassica carinata and white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) for about first eight years. The oil obtained from these oilseed crops could be used for manufacturing bio-jet fuel to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector. This study determines the profitability for three scenarios: loblolly pine with no intercropping (baseline), loblolly pine with carinata (alternate years for first eight years), and loblolly pine with carinata and white lupin rotated annually. We ascertained the land expectation value (LEV) for three site indices of 15.3m, 18.3m, and 21.3m. Sensitivity and risk analyses were undertaken for ascertaining the influence of input variables on the LEVs and for determining the probability of loss for intercropping production systems relative to baseline production system, respectively. For site index 21.3m, the LEV of loblolly pine with no intercropping was $2772/ha at a 22-years rotation period. Intercropping with carinata only and both carinata and white lupin yielded LEVs of $5081/ha at a 20-years and $4780/ha at a 21-years rotation period, respectively. The LEVs of production systems were sensitive to interest rate and price and yield of carinata seeds. The probability of loss related with the intercropping production systems increased with a decrease in yields. Future research should focus on the impacts of intercropping on the loblolly pine yield and adoption behavior of forest landowners.