Monday, November 2, 2009: 1:30 PM
Convention Center, Room 305, Third Floor
Biodiesel and other biofuel crops should be adapted, productive, produce useful oil and meal, pest resistant, low-input or economic, easy to produce seed, and grown with minimum displacement of food crops. Camelina, a cool season crop in the Brassicaceae family, fits these criteria. Camelina is frost and cold tolerant, adapted to low moisture conditions, insect resistant, productive, seed can be produced readily, and could be adapted to some low rainfall areas as a rotation crop to wheat replacing fallow. Seed oil content is 35-40% and meal is high protein. Planting rates of 4-6 kg ha-1 of camelina seed gives ample stands due to small seed size and allows a seed increase up to 500 fold. 2008 seed yields averaged across five varieties were 1850 kg ha-1 at Pendleton, OR; 1460 kg ha-1 at Moscow, ID; 2075 kg ha-1 at LaCrosse, WA; and 1900 kg ha-1 at Pullman, WA. Yields at
varied from 2560 to 2710 kg ha-1 in 2005 to 2007. A 2007 study showed early planting is desirable with yield decreasing from 2500 kg ha-1 when planted 19 March to 1700 kg ha-1 when planted 19 April. Fertilizer response was variable, but camelina appears to have a low nitrogen demand. Harvest index assessment shows 33% of dry matter is seed and contributes to low water and nitrogen fertilizer use. Camelina is an under developed crop and processing for biodiesel, meal use, herbicide availability, combine setting for the small seed size, residual herbicides, and unknown problems present challenges to growers. Potential economic returns using February 2009 prices show camelina with the highest return of eight potential spring crops adapted to the higher rainfall areas of the Palouse except for lentils.