Assessing the value of oilseed meals for soil fertility and weed suppression

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2008: $9,213.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:
Dr. Heather Darby
University of Vermont Extension

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: sweet corn


  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Pest Management: weed ecology
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization

    Proposal abstract:

    Recent projects in New England have shown that growing oilseed crops for on-farm biofuel production has the potential to increase the economic viability of farms through diversification. Oilseed meals would net the highest return if sold as a source of protein for a livestock ration, but there have been several barriers preventing the establishment of this market. There are small amounts of local oilseed meals that are inconsistent in quality detracting from the value of the meal to the feed industry. Farmers producing oilseeds need to find other markets for their seed meal. There is a potential market for the oilseed meal to be used for fertilizer and weed control. In order to develop a market for the seed meal it will be necessary to determine the value of the meals as a fertilizer source and weed suppressant. This project will conduct a replicated on-farm trial to determine the potential of local canola, mustard, and sunflower meals to provide nitrogen and suppress weeds in a high value sweet corn crop. Outreach will be conducted through on-farm field days, biofuel conference, bulletins, and mass media articles.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    To determine the value of oilseed meals as a fertilizer source and weed suppressant under local conditions.

    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.