Evaluating Camelina sativa as a Fallow Replacement Crop in Wheat Production Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2014: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Grant Recipient: Kansas State University
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Augustine Obour
Kansas State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: wheat


  • Crop Production: crop rotation, fallow, nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Due to water limitations, crop-fallow has been the traditional dryland cropping system in the Great Plains region. The use of conventional tillage operations for weed control during the fallow period has resulted in insufficient crop residue return to the soil, depletion of soil organic matter (SOM), declining soil fertility, soil erosion, and inefficient water storage. Adoption of reduced tillage (RT) and no-till (NT) practices have led to increased moisture storage and allowed crop intensification in dryland cropping systems in the Great Plains. However, identifying alternative crops that are adapted to dryland environments of the central and northern Great Plains has been a major challenge to producers and researchers. An alternative crop with potential for the dryland crop production in the Great Plains is camelina (Camelina sativa L. Crantz). Compared to other oilseed crops, research have shown camelina to be cold and drought tolerant, requires relatively low agricultural inputs, and well adapted to the water-limited environments in the Great Plains. Replacing fallow with a biofuel feedstock like camelina has the potential to diversify cereal-based crop production systems in Kansas. Despite its potential as an alternative bioenergy feedstock for dryland cropping systems in the Great Plains, limited research has been conducted on camelina and its agronomic potential remains largely underexploited. Information on adapted winter and spring camelina genotypes, production systems and best agronomic production practices are limited. In addition, current production costs and lack of markets limit production profitability of camelina. This proposed project will develop production recommendations for camelina as fallow replacement crop in dryland cropping systems by conducting field experiments to evaluate planting dates and agronomic performance of spring and winter camelina genotypes, nitrogen and sulfur fertility requirements, and incorporating camelina into dryland cropping systems. Data will be collected on plant stand, winter survival rate, date of flowering, plant height, plant stand at harvest, lodging, seed yield, date of physiological and harvest maturity, as well as oil content. We will also monitor camelina water use, greenhouse gas emissions and soil health. As an outcome, agronomic recommendations for camelina production will be developed that will optimize camelina production as bioenergy feedstock in wheat-based cropping systems. Crop diversification by adopting bioenergy crops will diversify markets, manage crop pests, and increase overall crop productivity. This has the potential to improve farm income, profitability and long term sustainability of crop production systems in the region, consistent with broader goals of the NCR-SARE program.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Currently, information is limited on the best agronomic management practices to increase camelina production in dryland environments in the Great Plains. The proposed study will develop production recommendation for camelina by testing superior spring and winter camelina germplasm, determine optimum planting dates for spring and winter camelina, nitrogen and sulfur requirements, camelina water use, and proper harvesting techniques. As an outcome of the proposed project, we anticipate a significant increase in grower knowledge and understanding of camelina as alternative crop for fallow replacement in dryland cropping systems. The findings of the study will provide producers the available tools to effectively select the most adopted spring and winter camleina germplasm, optimum planting dates, and amount of fertilizer required to achieve maximum seed yields. Incorporating camelina into wheat-sorghum production systems will diversify markets, reduce crop pests, increase crop productivity and farm income. Results and recommendations from the study will be developed into factsheets and extension publications for camelina production in dryland cropping systems. Three to four peer-reviewed journal articles, granting interviews to local media outlets, news releases and publications in Kansas Fertilizer Research Report of Progress will be other outputs of the project. Presentation of the study results at regional profession meetings, and the annual Western Kansas Agricultural Research Center (WKARC) field days at Hays will be added outputs from the project.

    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.