California could get additional cold season cop including canola and camelina

March 1, 2017 |

In California, growers usually choose warm-season crops: ones that grow from March to October. But extension agronomist Stephen Kaffka and his team at UC Davis, including project scientist Nic George, explored growing cool-season crops in the same areas. These are grown from October to June.

Why? “Warm-season crops require a lot of irrigation water,” Kaffka said. “They tend to be high-value but water-demanding. Cool-season crops have three advantages: the cooler temperatures allow plants to grow without losing as much water through transpiration (like humans’ sweat) as crops that grow during hot weather. There is also less evaporation of moisture from the soil. Lastly, the cool season is when California, in particular, gets most of its rainfall—so cool-season crops benefit from this direct source of water.”

Kaffka’s team looked at growing canola and camelina. Both are cool-season crops that produce oilseeds. These are seeds that are harvested and processed into oils. Canola and camelina also provide oilseed meal byproducts used for livestock feed. Both crops can be used for biofuels.

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