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Consider Camelina As A Short-Season Option

Camelina is relatively new to Western Canada, but this short-season oilseed could prove a wise option for those facing a late seeding season. While camelina does well when seeded early, it can go in in late June and still produce a decent crop.

Distributed by Camelina Canada based at Lethbridge, Alta., camelina is very versatile, relatively low input crop, well adapted to a wide range of growing conditions from the Yukon to southern Texas, says company president Ryan Mercer, a southern Alberta farmer. There has even been interest from farmers in Iceland in producing the crop, says Mercer, who markets seed around the world.

“I have seeded it as late as mid- June on our farm and because it needs only 75 to 80 days to maturity, in most areas it probably could be seeded up until the end of June and still produce a good crop,” says Mercer.

Camelina, used as an industrial oil well suited for the biofuel industry, is produced under contract issued by Camelina Canada, although with a large demand for the oilseed, contracts are still available for the 2011 growing season.

The short-season oilseed is well adapted for all soil types in Western Canada and with good drought tolerance has the versatility to grow well under all conditions from extremely wet to very dry.

SEEDING REQUIREMENTS

While detailed production information is provided with each contract, here are some of the key points about growing camelina:

Grows well in all soil types, and moisture regimes.

Well suited to direct seeding.

With 75 to 80 days to maturity, there is a wide window of seeding opportunity, although with later seeding there is a greater opportunity for effective weed control with a pre-seeding burn-off herbicide.

A small seeded crop, much like canola, it should be seeded shallow at between one-quarter to one-half inch deep.

Can be planted with all types of seeding equipment, although it can be more difficult to maintain the shallow seeding on systems equipped with sweeps.

Seeding rate of five to seven pounds per acre.

FERTILITY REQUIREMENTS

Camelina requires about two-thirds the nutrient requirements of canola. For example, if you typically apply 100 pounds of nitrogen with canola, camelina would require about 60 pounds.

Also should be grown with about 15 pounds of phosphorus and 10 pounds of sulphur, applied in the seed row at time of seeding.

WEED/PEST CONTROL

Seed following an effective pre-seeding burn-off herbicide treatment, such as glyphosate

Although Camelina is not included as a crop on the Edge herbicide label, field trials have shown it grows well on soils where Edge has been applied and incorporated.

Assure II is a herbicide registered for in-crop control of grassy weeds.

Camelina has not shown signs of being susceptible to any particular insect pest.

The crop does not appear to be prone to any particular diseases, although can show signs of white rust, or powdery mildew similar to a mustard seed crop.

HARVEST

Crop matures in 75 to 80 days.

On average the crop stands two to three feet tall, with seed heads in the top two-thirds of the plant.

It is a fairly strong determinant crop, so will stop growing and ripen without the need for a desiccant.

With good shattering resistance, it is well suited to straight combining

Depending on growing conditions crop yields can range from 25 to 40 bushels per acre.

For more information on contracts and agronomics contact Dan Kusalic, Camelina Canada agronomy manager at 403-330- 8687.

LeeHartisafieldeditorforGrainewsat Calgary.Contacthimat403-592-1964orby emailat [email protected]

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Camelina produces

an industrial oil and is grown under contract

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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