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Winter camelina root characteristics and yield performance under contrasting environmental conditions

Federica Zanetti, Russ W. Gesch, Maninder K. Walia, Jane M.F. Johnson, Andrea Monti
Field crops research 2020 v.252 pp. 107794
Camelina sativa, Mediterranean climate, alternative crops, biodiversity, biomass, climatic factors, ecosystem services, edaphic factors, growing season, lipid content, oilseed crops, plant density, rooting, roots, seed oils, seed yield, seeds, shoots, sowing date, staple crops, vegetative growth, winter, Italy, Minnesota
A need exists across Europe and the USA for alternative crops to help diversify agricultural systems and promote ecosystem services. Winter camelina is a multipurpose oilseed crop that can be incorporated with staple crops to add biodiversity and other environmental benefits. Little is known about winter camelina productivity across diverse environments, and even less is known about its rooting characteristics under different soils and climates. Therefore, a field study was conducted at Bologna Italy and Morris, Minnesota USA over two growing seasons while applying two seeding rates (500 and 250 seeds m⁻²) and two sowing dates (early and late) to evaluate the above and belowground productivity of Joelle winter camelina. Winter camelina growth was highly influenced by environmental conditions. Seed yield and oil content were considerably greater at Bologna, averaging 1518 kg ha⁻¹ and 419 g kg⁻¹, respectively, as compared with Morris, which averaged 743 kg ha⁻¹ and 385 g kg⁻¹ during the study. The milder climate of northern Italy was associated with prolonged vegetative growth during winter resulting in root and shoot biomass 1.7-fold greater than in Morris. Plant density at harvest tended to be greater at Bologna but had a negligible effect on productivity at either location. Sowing date only affected seed oil content at Morris, where it was greater in the later sowing. Results confirmed that winter camelina is highly adaptable and can serve as a viable crop in a Mediterranean as well as temperate climate.