Intensification of Dryland Cropping Systems for Bio-feedstock Production: Energy Analysis of Camelina

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Camelina (Camelina sativa L. Crantz), as a bioenergy and bio-product feedstock, may be grown as a rotation crop in the wheat-based cropping system to increase land use efficiency in the Northern Great Plains (NGP). In this study, which was conducted from 2008 to 2011 in central Montana, we evaluated the energy balance of three 2-year cop rotational sequences that included camelina-winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) (CAM-WW) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)-winter wheat (BAR-WW) compared with a traditional fallow-winter wheat (FAL-WW) rotation. Results indicated that 52 and 57 % more energy input was invested in CAM-WW and BAR-WW compared to FAL-WW system (9182 MJ ha−1), respectively. In all rotations, nitrogen fertilizer was the most energy-consuming input and accounted for 76, 68, and 69 % of the total energy used in wheat, barley, and camelina production, respectively. Averaged over 3 years, CAM-WW and BAR-WW systems yielded 34 and 29 % greater gross energy output compared with FAL-WW. The CAM-WW and BAR-WW also outperformed FAL-WW by 30 and 6 % in terms of net energy output. No significant differences in energy efficiency were found between the FAL-WW and CAM-WW systems. Taking into account of the greater net energy as well as similar values of energy use efficiency, the CAM-WW system performed better than the traditional FAL-WW system under rainfed conditions in central Montana. There is a good potential to improve the energy efficiency of the CAM-WW cropping system (by more than 26 %) through refinement of agronomic practices, mainly nitrogen fertilization and herbicide application, which can further enhance the sustainability of camelina feedstock production.




Keshavarz-Afshar, Reza, and Chengci Chen. "Intensification of Dryland Cropping Systems for Bio-feedstock Production: Energy Analysis of Camelina." BioEnergy Research 8, no. 4 (December 2015): 1877-1884. DOI:
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