Scott Wells, Assistant Professor
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Goals and Objectives: The goals outlined in this project are aimed at addressing the environmental and economical needs of implementing a continuous green cover across the landscape of Minnesota. We are specifically looking into the viability of how and when to plant field pennycress and winter camelina into field corn, in rotation with soybeans, which together cover over 14 million acres of Minnesota. Some of the main hindrances to implementing cover crops into the landscape surround these questions of how and when to plant in order to maximize establishment, plant growth and oilseed yield.
Approach and Methodology: Our experimental design includes four oilseed planting dates, corresponding with different corn growth stages, with the two oilseeds (field pennycress and winter camelina) along with cereal rye. We will be measuring stand density, plant height, growth stage and dry matter as well as oilseed yield, percent content of each of the oilseeds and forage analysis of the rye. To address the ecosystem services of this system, we will extend our knowledge of how relayed crops can be leveraged to improve water quality by minimizing off site movement of nutrients and soil. This analysis will be done using soil water data loggers to account for soil moisture impacts of oilseed emergence.
Anticipated Outcomes: The data we gain from this study will be used to make agronomic recommendations on optimal planting dates for pennycress and camelina as well as provide the economical analysis of implementing this system into a grower’s rotation.