Growing Camelina (Camelina sativa) in Western South Dakota

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $9,641.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Walker Farm
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: cover crops, crop rotation, relay cropping
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife

    Proposal summary:

    Camelina is a crop with a long history of cultivation, which has attracted attention as a source of oil for biofuel.  More recently, as the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in human health have been recognized, the favorable ratios of these lipids in camelina oil have caused an increase in interest in the crop.  In addition to these market factors, the unique characteristics of the camelina plant suggest that it could provide soil health and agronomic benefits in sustainable agricultural systems.  The development of winter varieties of camelina add to its attractiveness in addressing important needs for farmers in western South Dakota.  This project will explore the potential role of winter camelina as a rotational crop in western South Dakota by evaluating its compatibility with existing cropping systems, investigating its contribution to selected ecosystem services, and comparing its agronomic niche with that of winter wheat.  Metrics evaluated will include soil health effects, plant phenology relative to suitability for rotation with locally important crops, and use by pollinators and wildlife.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Short term

    1. Test the suitability of winter camelina for growing in western South Dakota.
    2. Compare winter camelina with winter wheat for of soil health objectives and suitability for rotation with other planned forage crops
    3. Evaluate the use of winter camelina by pollinators and wildlife
    4. Document costs and yields of local camelina production

    Long term (well beyond the life of this grant)

    1. Explore the potential profitability of establishing a small oil pressing facility in western South Dakota
    2. Explore the potential for commercial production and marketing of aquaculture feeds (specifically for rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon) using camelina oil and camelina meal
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.