Nitrogen source and rate effects on grain and potential biodiesel production of camelina in the semiarid environment of northern Nevada

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The objective of this two-year study (2016–2017 spring) carried out at the University of Nevada, Reno Main Station Field Laboratory, Reno, NV, was to evaluate the effects of nitrogen source, rate, and camelina cultivar on grain yield and potential biodiesel production irrigated with reclaimed water. Treatments were two sources of urea fertilizer [conventional urea (CU) and polymer-coated urea (PCU)], four N rates (0, 40, 80, and 120 kg N ha–1), and two cultivars of camelina (“Blaine Creek” and “Pronghorn”) arranged in a 4 × 2 × 2 factorial combinations with four replications each in a RCBD experiment. Plot size was 7.6 m long × 1.8 m wide, and camelina was seeded at a rate of 5 kg PLS seed ha-1. The quantity of light intercepted increased linearly from 44.9% to 65.9% as N application rate increased from 0 to 120 kg N ha–1, and it was greater for CU (59.6%) compared to PCU (54.0%) fertilized plots. There was a linear increased in grain yield ranging from 534 to 1,010 kg/ha as N application rate increased from 0 to 120 kg N ha-1. In Year 2, grain yield of Blaine Creek (898 kg/ha) was greater than that of Pronghorn (464 kg/ha). Also, there was a linear increase in estimated biodiesel from 51.2 to 94.2 L/ha as N application rate increased. For both grain and biodiesel production, there was no advantage of using controlled-release PCU fertilizer and 80 to 120 kg N ha–1 is sufficient for the cultivation of camelina in this environment. Based on the range of grain yield obtained in this study, camelina can be a potential alternative crop to integrate into the annual crop production cycle in water-limited environments like Nevada.

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