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.

Bill Young, OSU professor emeritus and extension agronomist in seed production, has recently updated Oregon’s grass and forage legume seed crop production statistics for the 2012 crop year.  This report provides a wealth of useful information about quantity of seed produced, crop yields, and economic value of these seed crops in Oregon. 

Here is a summary of the findings from Dr. Young:

In brief, the combined value for all grass and legume seed crops in the 2011-12 crop year ($406,251,000) increased almost 21% over the value of production in 2010-11. Oregon growers harvested 408,000 acres of grass seed crops in 2012, an increase of 34,705 acres (+9.3%) over last year. However, the estimated value of all grass seed species increased by 24.1% due to the combination of more acres and improved prices received by growers.  Legume seed crop acreage declined by almost 5% (2,118 acres) from the 2010-11 crop year, and the estimated value of this year’s production dropped by 6.6% to $35,656,000 when compared to last year’s record $36,532,000 crop.

Here is a link to the report on OSU’s Seed Crops page:

2012 Grass and Legume Seed Crop Estimates

You can follow the links on the Seed Crops page to find information about this past year’s seed crops and comparisons to previous crop years. Historical reports are also archived at this page.

Here’s a new article on spring irrigation of tall fescue seed crops published in Field Crops Research.  This work was led by Krista Huettig, a former graduate student and member of my research team.

Krista Heuttig

The study reports several important findings and was the first study to demonstrate that spring irrigation increases seed yield in tall fescue.  Tall fescue seed yield responses to spring irrigation varied among the cultivars tested.  Increased number of seed in tall fescue was most responsible for the seed yield improvement observed with spring irrigation.   Strategic timing of spring irrigation to support seed filling was more important for increasing seed yield than season-long irrigation.

Click on the citation below to go to the article:

Huettig, K.D., T.G. Chastain, C. J. Garbacik, W.C. Young III, and D.J. Wysocki.  2013.  Spring irrigation of tall fescue for seed production.  Field Crops Research  144:297-304.

Thomas G. Chastain

Market conditions as well as the cost of production affect the profitability of grass seed production enterprises.  Supply and demand dictate the price of seed.  Since seed is an international commodity, the production conditions and seed yields in all regions around the world are important factors affecting seed supply. The size of the carryover stock from one year to the next can effect prices.  Low supply or high price of one species of turf grass can lead to substitution in seed mixtures with another species, lower cost or more plentiful species.

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An international team of scientists led by Dr. John Hampton of New Zealand is developing a series of articles on the effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on seed quality and seed production.  I’m a member of this team and the first installment of our series was published last year in the Journal of Agricultural Science.

This article has been ranked as one of the top-10 most-read or most-downloaded articles in 2012 according to the Journal’s website.  This distinction was not just accorded for articles published in 2012, but for all articles downloaded over the entire history of the journal.

Here’s a link to the article:

Hampton, J.G., B. Boelt, M.P. Rolston, and T.G. Chastain.  2013.  Effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on seed quality.  J Agric Sci (Cambridge) 151:154-162. doi: 10.1017/S0021859612000263, Published online by Cambridge University Press 30 March 2012.

Thomas G. Chastain

The Willamette Valley is the USA’s only significant sugarbeet seed production area for this important crop.   Annual acreage in the region for sugarbeet seed production ranges from 2000 to 6000 acres, but has declined since the 1990s (Fig. 1).  Technological advancements in production of sugarbeets has resulted in reduced but stable seed production acreages in the Willamette Valley.

Figure 1. Sugarbeet seed production acreage trends in the Willamette Valley.

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