All You Should Know About Growing Camelina
In the past, camelina grew in the wild in Canada and was considered a weed. However, in the recent past, farmers have started growing the plant as they realize its benefits. Most Camelina varieties have between 30 and 40 percent of oil in them. The oil from the seed can be used in both industrial and edible products.
In the past years, camelina was crushed and its oil extracted for its medicinal value, food and for use in lighting. However, scientists have discovered that the seed’s oil is rich in Omega-3 vitamins and this has led to its use in manufacture of vegetable oils. Other areas where the oil is used include in manufacture of cooking oil, soft detergents, soaps, skin care products, and cosmetics.
The oil has also been successfully used in agricultural spraying applications such as biodiesel and for pig, cattle and chicken feed. The product that remains when the oil has been extracted from the seed is called camelina meal. This product is similar to canola meal and soybean and has 40% protein. The meal forms a nutritious food for cattle and chicken.
To get the best yields of camelina, the plant should be planted with other crops. After oil extraction, the plant remains and seed covers can be used for forage or green manure.
Camelina Crop as a Weed
Camelina is considered a weed in some parts of North America. However, in some parts like Canada, the crop has been embraced for its oil as a food, for its medicinal properties and for fuel. Camelina does not deprive other plants of water or nutrients from the soil when growing with or net to them. The crop can be easily introduced to diverse environments thanks to its ability to survive under different climatic conditions.
Like most weeds, camelina grows fast under the right conditions. If the crop is planted in a temperate climate region, it can take about three months to mature. Some farmers plant camelina during the winter although the best time to plant is during the summer. The crop’s seeds germinate when the temperatures are low and can survive the frost. Moreover, the sturdy nature of the plant makes it survive during the drought season or in areas with low rainfall. In some areas in Canada, the plant has been found to perform well on wet and poorly drained soils.
Contact your local agricultural services office, extension services or state natural resources for more information about the growth of camelina. There are also many government websites or agriculture boards and forums with information about the weed. Finally, you can get advice from a farmer growing camelina to know what to expect.
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