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:
- Test the suitability of winter camelina for growing in western South Dakota.
- Compare winter camelina with winter wheat for of soil health objectives and suitability for rotation with other planned forage crops
- Evaluate the use of winter camelina by pollinators and wildlife
- Document costs and yields of local camelina production
Long term (well beyond the life of this grant)
- Explore the potential profitability of establishing a small oil pressing facility in western South Dakota
- Explore the potential for commercial production and marketing of aquaculture feeds (specifically for rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon) using camelina oil and camelina meal