Evaluation of Camelina sativa as an alternative seed crop and feedstock for biofuel and developing replacement heifers.

2010 Annual Report for SW07-049

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2007: $155,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Wyoming
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Bret Hess
University of Wyoming

Evaluation of Camelina sativa as an alternative seed crop and feedstock for biofuel and developing replacement heifers.


Trials utilizing camelina to replace fallow in the traditional wheat-fallow system began in 2007 in both Montana and Wyoming. Average dryland yields of camelina were 874 lbs/acre in Montana and 356 lb/acre in Wyoming, but Wyoming average yields increased to 1,105 lbs/acre under irrigation. Camelina oil has been extracted from seed produced from the Wyoming trials. Arrangements have been made to produce camelina biodiesel on a farm in Otto, WY. This biodiesel will be tested for quality and used in the cooperator’s farm equipment. Transfer of knowledge to stakeholders has begun and will continue.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Objective I. Evaluate field production of camelina in Montana and Wyoming.

Objective II. Evaluate camelina oil for production of biodiesel.

Objective III. Evaluate camelina co-products in diets of developing replacement beef heifers.

Objective IV. Evaluate the ecological impact and economic potential of: (a) replacing camelina for fallow; (b) utilizing camelina as a feedstock for biodiesel; and (c) including camelina co-products in diets of developing replacement beef heifers.


Objective I & IVa

A camelina-wheat versus the traditional wheat-fallow system rotation was initiated at the Central Agricultural Research Center (CARC), Moccasin, MT and at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research Center near Lingle in southeast WY in 2007. The rotation study has 1) winter wheat, 2) fallow, 3) winter wheat and 4) camelina phases, and each phase shows up each year for three years. Crop yields for the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 growing seasons have been recorded. A small bundle sample was harvested from each plot to evaluate the harvest index and crop residue return to soil. Crop residue return and soil condition index data are under processing. The potential to grow camelina under irrigation was assessed at plots established at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research Center.

Objective III

Data from the two-year experiment in which developing replacement heifers were used to assess the replacement of camelina co-products for a conventional corn-soybean meal supplement were pooled. A Master’s student summarized these data as part of the thesis and concluded that camelina coproducts can replace conventional corn-soybean meal supplements in diets of developing replacement beef heifers. The student presented these results at the American Society of Animal Science meetings. The student also utilized the pooled data to address Objective IV c.

Objective II

Project participants are making arrangements to evaluate camelina oil for on-farm production of biodiesel. Camelina oil has been produced by pressing the seed through the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service’s mobile oil press, and a biodiesel producer in Otto, WY has agreed to utilize the resulting camelina oil to produce biodiesel this spring.

Objective IV

This objective will be accomplished after completion of objectives I – III. Information has been compiled to specifically address the economic potential of including camelina co-products in diets of developing replacement beef heifers. We concluded that camelina coproducts are economically feasible replacements for conventional corn-soybean meal supplements when offered to replacement beef heifers for 60 days before breeding. However, on-farm biodiesel production looks problematic from an economic perspective for both individual and small cooperatives.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Three separate field days were held during the month of July. The field days were successful, and over 100 people at each field day learned about replacing fallow with camelina in a traditional winter wheat-fallow cropping system and on-farm production of biodiesel. An additional field day was held in September on a producer’s farm in Otto, WY. This day-long workshop was designed to teach participants about the qualities of camelina as well as how to produce and utilize biodiesel on the farm. Results of the heifer feeding trial were published as a proceedings paper and presented at the Joint National and Western Section of American Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting (July 11-15, 2010). A manuscript on this subject was submitted for peer review in November. Two separate papers concentrating on the economics of on-farm biodiesel production from camelina will be presented at two separate international conferences this spring. In the short run, this project has increased producer awareness and knowledge as producers attended field days and cooperators grew camelina. Producers gained additional knowledge as they witnessed how to press camelina and use camelina oil to produce biodiesel. In addition to animal scientists and producers, preliminary results of the feeding trial have been shared with FDA and a coalition of businesses that seek to have crude glycerin and camelina meal approved as feed ingredients for livestock. The FDA has now approved up to 10% camelina in the ration of ruminant livestock rations.


Chengci Chen

[email protected]
Assistant Professor of Agronomy (Cropping Systems)
Montana State University
HC90 Box20
Moccasin, MT 59462
Office Phone: 4064235421
Jim Kintz

[email protected]
Managing Director
Energy Fuel Dynamics
Gillette, WY
Office Phone: 3076862463
Thomas Foulke

[email protected]
Assistant Research Scientist of Agricultural and A
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University
Laramie, WY 82071
Office Phone: 3077666205
James Krall

[email protected]
Professor of Agronomy and Extension Agronomist
University of Wyoming
2753 State Hwy. 157
Lingle, WY 82223-8543
Office Phone: 3078372000
James Jacobs

[email protected]
Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University
Laramie, WY 82071
Office Phone: 3077663598
Charles Rife

[email protected]
Oilseed Breeder
Blue Sun Biodiesel
Westminster , CO 80234
Office Phone: 3038657700
Duane Johnson

[email protected]
Office Phone: 4064710671