Date of this Version
Industrial Crops and Products 36 (2012) 9–13;
With increased emphasis for diesel substitution, production of brown mustard (Brassica juncea), canola (Brassica napus) and camelina (Camelina sativa) used as biodiesels may increase in the High Plains. Since these are new crops to this region, understanding their growth is critical for their acceptance. The objective was to elucidate the growth pattern of these crops when spring-planted in western Nebraska. Field trials were conducted in 2005, 2006 and 2007 with early May planting. Plots were seeded 2 cm deep at 200 plantsm−2. Four plants were destructively sampled at about 28, 40, 53, 61, and 82 days after planting (DAP). Canopy growth was field measured. Canopy heights peaked by 61DAP at 95, 85 and 70cm for brown mustard, canola and camelina, respectively. Stem length increased to 82DAP at the rates of 1.24, 1.22 and 0.85 cm/d for brown mustard, canola and camelina, respectively. Root weight accumulated linearly from 28 to 61 DAP. The Brassica grew roots faster and achieved higher weights than camelina. From 28 to 40 DAP, vine fresh weight accumulated rapidly for these crops, leveled and then gradually declined as leaves desiccated. Vine dry weight increased to 61DAP and then plateaued. The maximum vine dry weights, reached at 61 DAP, were 4.3, 4.5 and 3.0 g/plant for brown mustard, canola and camelina, respectively. By 61 DAP, pods were present and accumulated dry matter while leaves senesced. Pod fresh weight reached its peak at 61DAP while its dry weight increased linearly to 82DAP at rates of 0.36, 0.24 and 0.096 g/d for brown mustard, canola and camelina, respectively. Harvest in 2006 showed no significant (p < 0.05) difference between crops with a mean yield of about 1500 kg ha−1. Fatty acid composition was dramatically different between the crops as previously reported. The growth patterns of these crops indicated that all three would be suitable for production in the northern High Plains.