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Growing camelina with VISION: a fit for your farm?

Early adopters capitalize on the growing market for advanced biofuels

In the rapidly expanding market for renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), camelina is emerging as a key player. With its high oil content and ability to grow on marginal land, camelina is an ideal feedstock for advanced biofuels.  

Camelina has a short growing season and low input requirements, making it an attractive option for farmers without disrupting traditional cropping cycles. Acres are available with VISION Bioenergy Oilseeds (VISION), who is offering 100% grain offtake agreements from North Dakota to Texas, financially backed by their partnership with Shell.

VISION works with farmers looking to diversify revenue in uncertain grain markets and find new ways to enhance soil health and benefit rotational crops.

A low demand, high impact addition to your farming operation

“With its drought tolerance and low fertility demand, camelina can be a valuable new addition to crop rotations or for use on idle or fallow ground,” said VISION production manager JD Drennan.

VISION agronomist Amanda Duvall points out: “Adding a small seed, broadleaf crop to your rotation can help break pest and disease cycles.” 

“On marginally productive acres, camelina’s expansive root system helps improve soil structure, prevent erosion, and reduce nutrient run-off,” said Drennan. “During fallow periods, camelina is a good option for maintaining soil health.”

Duvall notes that camelina can be seamlessly integrated between other cash crops such as corn, soybean, wheat, or sorghum. 

“Camelina requires 90 to 110 growing degree days,” said Duvall. “We’re seeing growers plant camelina after fall harvest, leave it as ground cover over the winter, and harvest in early spring before their usual spring planting.” 

Camelina is remarkably resilient to cold weather with seeds germinating at temperatures as low as 34°F. Even if camelina appears to “freeze” during cold spells, it often rebounds once temperatures rise, making it a reliable choice for winter cropping.

With both spring and winter varieties, camelina is well-adapted for production across the Northern, Central and Southern Plains as well as the Pacific Northwest and Midwest.

Crop protection: new traits to control weeds

One of the challenges for camelina growers has been a lack of approved herbicides, especially for broadleaf weed control. Not anymore.

In 2025, VISION will offer the first and only USDA-APHIS-approved glufosinate-tolerant camelina variety for over-the-top application.

“Broadleaf weeds have been a real issue for camelina producers,” said VISION’s VP of Research and Development, Jeff Klingenberg. “In the past, we have seen camelina fields abandoned due to weed growth. The introduction of herbicide tolerant camelina is a huge milestone.”

For future release, VISION is integrating a suite of stacked herbicide tolerant traits into high yielding camelina varieties. These new varieties will also include tolerance to Group 2 herbicide residues persisting in soil from use on prior crops.

Start the conversation with VISION

Partnering with VISION allows farmers to take on the risk of a new crop with the added security of their 100% Grain Offtake Agreement and expert agronomic support.

“Growers can expand their income streams – maybe make a little money from unused land – and boost soil health with camelina,” said Duvall. “As the demand for biofuels continues to increase, camelina stands out as a crucial player in the market and we’re ready to help farmers get started.”

*This article was first published as an advertorial in the Innovators Edition of the High Plains Journal, May 13, 2024

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