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Winter oilseed production for biofuel in the U.S. Corn Belt: Opportunities and limitations

Aaron J. Sindelar, Marty R. Schmer, Russell W. Gesch, Frank Forcella, Carrie A. Eberle, Matthew D. Thom, David W. Archer
Global change biology 2015 v. no. pp. -
Camelina sativa, Glycine max, Thlaspi arvense, Zea mays, aviation, biodiesel, carbon sequestration, corn, crops, double cropping, ecosystem services, feedstocks, fuel production, greenhouse gas emissions, land use change, nitrate reduction, oilseed crops, pollinators, soil, soil organic carbon, soybeans, water erosion, water quality, wind erosion, Corn Belt region, United States
Interest from the US commercial aviation industry and commitments established by the US Navy and Air Force to use renewable fuels has spurred interest in identifying and developing crops for renewable aviation fuel. Concern regarding greenhouse gas emissions associated with land-use change and shifting land grown for food to feedstock production for fuel has encouraged the concept of intensifying current prominent cropping systems through various double cropping strategies. Camelina (Camelina sativa L.) and field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) are two winter oilseed crops that could potentially be integrated into the corn (Zea mays L.)–soybean [(Glycine max (L.) Merr.] cropping system, which is the prominent cropping system in the US Corn Belt. In addition to providing a feedstock for renewable aviation fuel production, integrating these crops into corn–soybean cropping systems could also potentially provide a range of ecosystem services. Some of these include soil protection from wind and water erosion, soil organic C (SOC) sequestration, water quality improvement through nitrate reduction, and a food source for pollinators. However, integration of these crops into corn–soybean cropping systems also carries possible limitations, such as potential yield reductions of the subsequent soybean crop. This review identifies and discusses some of the key benefits and constraints of integrating camelina or field pennycress into corn–soybean cropping systems and identifies generalized areas for potential adoption in the US Corn Belt.