- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) - Oregon State University researchers are seeing some early success in trials of camelina, an irrigation-free oilseed crop that’s getting more interest from farmers in the eastern part of the state as drought conditions persist.

Researchers have found a small profit margin for farmers who plant camelina on land that otherwise would have remained fallow, the Capital Press reported (https://bit.ly/1GUy1Dr).

Oregon State University Malheur County experiment station director Clink Shock says while not a money-maker, camelina could help growers pay land costs while also preventing erosion that can happen on fallow fields.

One test field produced 1,500 pounds of seed per acre that would have brought a farmer $300.

While nowhere near the $4,800 per-acre value of onions, the camelina test field grew without irrigation.

About 4.17 inches of precipitation fell on the camelina field from planting to harvest.

“We need to be thinking about what we’re going to do without water,” he said. “This is not a big money maker but it is a way of taking care of your farm ground. Also, consider that the return on the land will be negative without a crop.”

Owyhee Irrigation District Manager Jay Chamberlin says camelina will be an option farmers will increasingly choose if drought conditions keep up.

“If this is a trend we’re stuck with for a while, camelina could be something that brings in some income and protects your soils,” he said. “The whole mind-set of growers needs to change; the traditional things aren’t going to continue to work.”

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Information from: Capital Press, https://www.capitalpress.com/washington

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