James Anderson, Professor
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Field pennycress is a winter annual oilseed that serves a dual function as a cover crop but also produces oil that is suitable for use as a biofuel. Our breeding activities on pennycress began in 2013, and the first field pennycress lines from our crossing program will enter preliminary yield trials in 2016. We have characterized 43 winter pennycress accessions for agronomic characteristics including earliness, winterhardiness, shattering and seed yield. Evaluation of oil and glucosinolate content of the breeding lines and mutants is in progress. A planter, capable of planting small seeds at precise, shallow depths, equipped with multiple cones to plant the thousands of single rows plots common to breeding and genetics research, is necessary to ensure the timely, proper, and efficient seeding of pennycress.
Goals and Objectives: The specific objectives of this grant are to:
The planter will be available to other /crops projects, including intermediate wheatgrass, and we expect to use it to plant agronomic studies of Forever Green crops at off-site locations as well. The labor support will allow us to operate the pennycress breeding program on its current trajectory, which will include seeding preliminary yield trials from our first crosses in fall 2016 at two locations and making at least 40 new crosses.