What is in this article?:
- Oil yield key to economic success with camelina, canola
- Australian success
- Camelina and canola seem to be the frontrunners in the race to find new biofuel feedstock crops for California.
- Key to economic success with these crops is oil yield.
Camelina is a low water and nitrogen user.
Kaffka has learned that seeding rates and plant populations are critical. Crusting and emergence were issues in a Shafter, Calif., trial with shatter a problem at WREC. Weed control would be an issue in commercial production, since there are no registered herbicides. Canola has similar N requirement as camelina.
Australian Nic George, a UC associate specialist, worked with canola in Western Australia and is involved with the California biofuel crop work.
Australian growers have been producing canola for oil for 20 years under conditions similar to California’s central valley and “really like it,” he says.
He believes the Australian varieties hold a yield potential of 3,000 pounds per acre for the northern and central valleys of California.
Camelina and canola will compete with cereal grains and that would be a tough fight this year against the high price of wheat.
All of this work is being propelled by growing state and federal mandates to replace fossil fuels. EPA has set a target for the U.S. to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.