Winter oilseed production for biofuel in the US 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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-524
Number of pages17
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This review contributes to CenUSA Bioenergy, which is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-68005-30411 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

Keywords

  • Camelina
  • cropping system intensification
  • double cropping
  • pennycress
  • renewable jet fuel
  • second-generation biofuels
  • winter oilseeds

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