Willamette Valley agriculturalists need rotation crops, especially on soils that have few alternatives.  The well-publicized conflict over canola is one manifestation of this unmet need for crops that diversify cropping enterprises.  Sinapis alba, known by the common names yellow or white mustard, is a potential oilseed feedstock crop that will not cross with Brassica spp. vegetable crops.  Other cultivated mustards are members of the genus Brassica and will cross with Brassica spp. vegetables or canola.  Because of this distinction, S.alba is not regulated by current ODA administrative rules nor by proposed Oregon legislation.

Here’s my handout from the Hyslop Farm Field Day with more information about this oilseed crop:

Sinapis alba 2013 Field Day


Here’s a new article on nitrogen and sulfur nutrient management in camelina that has been published in Field Crops Research.  Camelina is a Brassica family oil seed crop that has demonstrated potential for production in the Pacific Northwest.  This work was led by Don Wysocki, OSU Extension Specialist located at Pendleton Oregon.

The study shows that camelina seed yield ranged widely across the four study sites in the Pacific Northwest due to differences in annual precipitation and soil available N.  Applied N increased the seed yield of camelina at all sites except the very low rainfall Lind Washington site.  The study was the first to show that oil content in the seed of camelina was not influenced by applied N and to report nitrogen use efficiency values for the crop.  Seed yield was also not affected by applied sulfur.

Click on the citation below to go to the article:

Wysocki, D.J., T.G. Chastain, W.F. Schillinger, S.O. Guy, and R.S. Karow.  2013.  Camelina: seed yield response to applied nitrogen and sulfur.  Field Crops Research 145:60-66.

Thomas G. Chastain

A resolution to the long-disputed prohibition of canola production in the Willamette Valley is near with the announcement that a temporary rule is set to go in effect on August 10th.  The Oregon Department of Agriculture has determined that canola production will be allowed in specified portions of the Willamette Valley.  A permanent administrative rule governing canola production in the region is expected to be in place prior to the expiration of the temporary rule.

Winter canola flowers and buds (T.G. Chastain photo)

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My presentation was on our 3-year field study on energy use and efficiency in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue seed crops. Results from the study have been used to create a life-cycle energy budget for these grass seed crops.

Here’s my handout from Hyslop Farm Field Day with more information about the topic:

Energy Use and Efficiency in Grass Seed Crop Production

Thomas G. Chastain

Growing a grass seed crop is all about making the best possible solar energy harvesting system at the lowest cost.   However, the direct and indirect costs of energy in the forms of fuel and fertilizer can make achieving this goal a challenge for grass seed producers.

Figure 1. Price of perennial ryegrass seed and price of oil indexed in 1976 cents and dollars, respectively. (click to enlarge)

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Energy budget for perennial ryegrass seed production (Chastain and Garbacik, 2011). Percentages denote the proportion of energy consumed by management practices.

The efficiency of energy use by US farmers has increased dramatically as the energy use per unit of farm output has declined about 44% since the late 1940s. Despite these gains, there is increasing scrutiny regarding the amount and the cost of energy used in agricultural production. Since the prospect for higher energy prices and further limitations on the availability of inexpensive energy is both real and immediate, identification of improved energy efficiencies is essential in order for grass seed production to remain a competitive enterprise for Oregon seed producers. Reducing energy costs is one way that the profitability of grass seed production might be improved.

For more information, click on the link below:

May 2011 Hyslop Farm Field Day Handout