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"A life cycle analysis of the carbon footprint of camelina-based biojet fuel concludes that the renewable fuel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 75% compared to traditional petroleum-based jet fuel, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy ."

Fall or Dormant Seeding Protocol: Northern United States

How do I manage for success? With our Grower Protocol.

Camelina provides an opportunity to diversify market and operational risk as a rotational alternative for California growers. With your success our goal, Sustainable Oils recommends the following protocol for fall seeded camelina for California inland valleys. This protocol is based on the latest technical information, research trials, and grower experiences. Sustainable Oils camelina has been historically proven to yield a commercial crop in dryland conditions with 6–8” of seasonal rains, depending on soil type.

In California, Sustainable Oils camelina is expected to be an option in a dryland fallow cropping system, or in fields that have been taken out of irrigation with water redistribution. While in-season protocol is similar to those for winter wheat, barley, and oats, days to maturity is expected to be less than conventional rotation crops. As an example, with a target November 1st plant date under normal California growing conditions in the Southern San Joaquin Valley and foothills, harvest dates projected to run April 15 – May 15.

Step 1: Select the right field

  • Select fields with known limited weed pressure.
  • Review history of herbicide use in your candidate field. Camelina is susceptible to long-term residual SU and IMI herbicides. Review application data for these herbicides for all previous crops, including cotton, vegetables, permanent crops, corn, processing tomatoes. For fallow fields, residuals of SU and IMI can be injurious up to 40 months before planting camelina.
  • It is NOT recommended to plant camelina in fields following canola or other Brassicas (rapeseed, brown mustard).

Step 2: Pre-plant control of broadleaf and grassy weeds

  • Follow normal protocol for weed control, by chemical or mechanical method.

Step 3: Agronomy

  • Test soil to determine existing soil nutrient levels at the 0’ to 3’ depths
  • Apply fertilizer to reach 100 lbs soil nitrogen per acre in the 3’ zone combining residual with applied nitrogen. About 10 to 15 lbs of nitrogen can be applied as a top dressing.
  • Camelina requires a minimum of 12 ppm phosphorous levels. While camelina is expected to grow under the same conditions as conventional winter cereals in your region of California, consult your agronomist for soil types, conditions, and pH/nutrient levels that may be unique to your situation.

Step 4: Field Preparation

  • The Sustainable Oils camelina technology group recognizes that field and seed bed preparation vary widely within the California growing area. Camelina production is adaptive to seeding on beds or on flat per grower preference for moisture management or equipment constraints.

Step 5: Plant

  • The target date to begin planting camelina is November 1 dependent upon adequate soil moisture for the crop
    to establish.
  • Seeding rate: Drill 6 to 8 lbs per acre, 6” spacing into prepared seed bed. Alternative is to broadcast, cover with harrow followed by press wheel or roller.
  • Seeding depth: 1/4” to 1/2” with shallower depth recommended. Planting depth greater than ½” is not recommended. Adequate soil compaction and good seed-soil contact are highly recommended.

Step 6: Growing season

  • Control grass weeds post-emergence. Monitor grass weeds after camelina emerges. Poast herbicide is labeled for post-emergence for camelina in California. Consult your local crop protection consultant for products labeled for camelina in California.

Step 7: Harvest

  • Harvest when the majority of pods are pale brown and seed shells easily from pods. Stems may still contain greenish tint, but the pods and upper plant will be brown and mature.
UC Davis Field Trials
Harvest in Montana 2010

These harvesting practices have been developed through a combination of research trials and growers’ experience — use these as suggestions only. Sustainable Oils is committed to partnering with growers to apply the best practices available to maximize your profitability. Please contact Sustainable Oils Technical staff at 406-522-8900.

Combine adjustments

Adjust combine for small seeds. Use of a sieve or screen standard for small grains is highly recommended. Other sieves and screens can cause plugging issues, and the possibility of a high amount of small camelina seeds being carried out the back of the combine with other materials.

  • Adjust header height so that camelina is cut just below seed pods to minimize the amount of green material going through the combine.
  • Harvest a small amount using the settings below, estimate the amount of seed loss, then consider modifying ground speed, fan and cylinder speed, and concave space. Combine settings are based on previous grower experiences:

    Ground speed: 4 – 5 MPH; Fan speed: 500 – 800 RPM; Cylinder speed: 800 – 1000 RPM; Concave space: 1”; Top chaffer sieve number: 1/8” – 3/16” (JD, CASE IH, NH series).

  • Check for leakage in combine and trucks; seal leaks.
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