Recent interest in alternative feedstock oils for Ohio biodiesel manufacturing has prompted interest in growing camelina in Ohio. Camelina (Camelina sativa) is a member of the Brassicaceae family that includes mustard, cabbage, and rapeseed. It is also know as false flax and has been cultivated in Europe and is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asian areas.
While Ohio has experience with other oilseed crops like soybean, sunflower and canola, camelina is being studied for some potential advantages. The oil content of camelina seed has ranged from 29 – 41 percent but the reason it has been used for oil is that it can be grown on marginal, low productivity soils and requires lower inputs of nitrogen and water. Much of the current camelina production is in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and other High Plain States. Camelina has been added to the continuous spring wheat production system to add crop rotation on land that would not support corn or soybeans due to marginal, low productivity soils. The nitrogen input for camelina is as much as 50% less than canola.
Camelina is not expected to displace corn and soybean acres in Ohio especially at current commodity prices. However, research is studying if camelina could be added to Ohio’s low productive land options or be integrated into a double crop or winter crop system.
Camelina is being evaluated for lbs of oil produced per acre. As with soybeans, there are two crop components that need studied and evaluated for their economic return. Those components are oil and meal. If low productive land supports 40 bushels of soybean per acre with a 20% oil content, the land yields 480 lbs of oil, plus the value of the meal. If the same low productive land supports 1400 lbs of camelina per acre with 40% oil, the land yields 560 lbs of oil, plus the value of the meal. Camelina meal is currently not GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) approved for livestock and dairy production.
The current research is answering the question, “Will camelina grow in Ohio?” Further economic questions and system integration need to be evaluated to determine if camelina is a realistic alternative oilseed crop for Ohio.
For more information regarding Camelina research in Ohio, please contact Bruce Clevenger at email@example.com