With growing public awareness of the negative political, social and environmental effects of fossil fuels, great efforts are being invested in the development of alternative energy sources - both domestic and renewable. Camelina is just such an alternative energy source. Currently, all Camelina (out of conventional production) produced under contract with Smart Earth Seeds is delivered to the United States where it is crushed and converted to biofuel. This is partly as a result of the RIN credit in the USA, since Canada has no similar renewable identification program for biofuel.
Major crops currently grown for biofuel production are soybean, corn, and canola. But cultivation of these crops for biofuel is often associated with direct and indirect land-use changes where natural habitats such as rain forests or grasslands (with large amounts of stored carbon) are converted to agricultural land. This conversion leads to the release of massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. At Smart Earth Seeds we guarantee that no natural grassland habitats are converted for the production of Camelina.
Camelina’s heat tolerance, low water requirements and ability to mature in a short growing season make it a good fit to fill fallow periods in dryland wheat farming or, in regions like the northern USA Great Plains states, as a double crop with short-season soybeans or sunflowers. As a result, little to no arable land is taken out of food production.
Feedstock costs can comprise up to 80% or more of biofuel production costs. Camelina has lower water requirements than other, traditional, commodity crops such as wheat or canola. It also requires less fertilizer and pesticide inputs. Camelina is resistant to a number of diseases and pests such as blackleg, alternaria blight, flea beetle, cabbage root fly, diamond back moth, and mustard sawfly. This makes seed treatments and in-season insecticide sprays unnecessary.
At Smart Earth Seeds we believe Camelina is one of the most promising alternative oilseeds for the sustainable production of biofuels and other biomaterials.
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