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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 ."

Spring Seeding Protocol: Northern United States

To ensure you succeed with camelina, Sustainable Oils recommends our growers in the northern U.S. follow this protocol for spring-seeded camelina.  This protocol is based on the latest technical information and grower experiences.

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.  If Brassica species (rapeseed, brown mustard) cannot be planted following a specific herbicide, then DO NOT plant camelina.  Check the label for plant-back restrictions, which can be as long as 40 months for some products.  If you are unsure of a specific plant back restriction, please contact us. 
  • It is NOT recommended to plant camelina in fields following canola or other Brassicas (rapeseed, brown mustard).
  • Camelina grows well in fields that were previously fallow or growing wheat, barley, peas or lentils.

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

  • Apply glyphosate in the fall as a burn down. (Read and follow all label directions.)
  • Apply glyphosate at planting before camelina emergence. (Read and follow all label directions.)      

Step 3: Fertilize

  • Test your soil to determine existing soil nutrient levels.
  • If soil nitrogen is less than 80 lbs per acre in the top 3’, apply fertilizer to reach that level combining soil nitrogen with applied nitrogen.
  • If soil phosphorous level is 12 ppm or less, apply 15 lbs of actual phosphate per acre.
  • Apply 15 units of sulfur.

Step 4: Plant

  • Plant as early as possible after March 15, depending on weather conditions. Because early planting dates typically optimize yield and camelina has better frost tolerance than other crops, camelina should be the first crop planted. 
  • Seeding rate: Drill 5 lb/acre.
  • Seeding depth: 1/4” to 1/2” with shallower depth recommended. Make sure not to plant deeper than 1/2". Adequate soil compaction and good seed-soil contact are very important.

Step 5: Control grass weeds postemergence

  • Monitor grass weeds after camelina emerges and apply Poast herbicide if necessary (refer to label).

Step 6: Harvest

  • Harvest when the majority of pods are pale brown and seed shells easily from pods.
    Check for seed moisture before harvest. Seed moisture should be 8% or less.

Combine Adjustments:

  • Adjust combine for small seeds. The addition of a sieve or screen is NOT recommended.  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, concave space and sieve number. The following recommendations 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; use duct tape to seal leaks.

Bibliographic References:
• K.A. McVay, Lamb, P. 2007. Camelina Production in Montana. Available at: http://www.msuextension.org/store/Products/Camelina-Production-in-Montana__MT200701AG.aspx
• Grant Jackson, Professor of Agronomy, Western Triangle Ag. Research Center, Conrad. “Response of Camelina to Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Sulfur", February 2008 Number 49


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