All You Should Know About Growing Camelina
In the past, camelina grew in the wild in Canada and was considered a weed. However, in the recent past, farmers have started growing the plant as they realize its benefits. Most Camelina varieties have between 30 and 40 percent of oil in them. The oil from the seed can be used in both industrial and edible products.
In the past years, camelina was crushed and its oil extracted for its medicinal value, food and for use in lighting. However, scientists have discovered that the seed’s oil is rich in Omega-3 vitamins and this has led to its use in manufacture of vegetable oils. Today, the oil is also used in manufacture of detergents, soap, skin care products, oil and other products.
The oil is also used in manufacture of different crop sprays and feeds for cattle, pigs and chicken. Camelina meal is the seed feed that remains when the oil has been extracted from the seeds. This product is similar to canola meal and soybean and has 40% protein. The meal forms a nutritious food for cattle and chicken.
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Camelina grows best when it’s planted together with other crops. After extracting the oil from the seeds, the seed covers and other plant remains can be used to form green manure.
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Growing Camelina as a Weed
In some areas in North America, camelina is considered a weed. However, the benefits of the plant’s oil, which include a source of fuel, medicinal properties and as a vegetable oil has made some farmers in Canada to start growing it commercially. In many cases, camelina is a weed in flax and will not disturb other crops. The plant can survive various climatic conditions and thus can be easily introduced in different areas.
Camelina takes a short time to grow. If the crop is planted in a temperate climate region, it can take about three months to mature. The plant mostly does well when grown in the summer, although it can also be grown in the winter in milder climates. The seeds will germinate when the temperatures are low and can survive harsh frost. Unlike most oilseed crops, camelina can grow well in under drought stress and in low rainfall areas. Wet and poorly drained soils have also been found to support the growth of camelina.
For the status and use of camelina, get in touch with your local agricultural office, extension services or state natural resources. You can also search online at different weed species websites or the government agriculture ministry. Finally, you can get advice from a farmer growing camelina to know what to expect.