Effect of defoliation on maize growth and yield

Possible species for the production of biodiesel on marginal land
B A McKenzie1, B M Smallfield2, V Fasi1 and R J Martin1 1Bioprotection Research Centre, P O Box 84, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand 2The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch Abstract
A series of field experiments was conducted in 2009-10 and 2010-11 in the North
and South Islands of New Zealand to examine the potential of brown mustard
(Brassica juncea); camelina or false flax (Camelina sativa); meadowfoam
(Limnanthes alba) and field penny-cress (Thlaspi arvense) with oilseed rape
(Brassica napus) as the current NZ biodiesel crop. Crops were grown at three sites
in both years; Ashley Dene (dryland sheep farm, Lincoln), Oxford (wet, low
fertility land in the foothills of the Southern Alps) and Taupo (central North Island
light pumice soil). There were both autumn and spring sowings at all sites in 2009-
10, but in 2010-11, Taupo and Oxford had spring sown trials only. In 2009-10 all
species established well after sowing with the exception of field penny-cress. At
Taupo and Oxford oilseed rape yielded up to 2.3 and 3.8 t seed ha-1 respectively, but
at Ashley Dene it yielded less than 1 t seed ha-1. Brown mustard and camelina
performed nearly as well at some sites, producing up to 2.9 t seed ha-1 at Taupo, yet
at Ashley Dene, camelina produced just 0.9 t seed ha-1. Meadowfoam had the
highest seed yield of nearly 1.6 t ha-1 at Ashley Dene, and, at Taupo and Oxford, it
yielded up to 1.0 and 0.6 t seed ha-1 respectively. Seed oil contents within species
were similar across all sites. Oilseed rape had the highest oil content, averaging
40% followed by brown mustard (35%) and camelina (33%). Field penny-cress and
meadowfoam were lower, averaging 24% and 15% respectively. Oil yields
followed a very similar trend to seed yield. Maximum oil yields of 1.5 and 1.0 t ha-1
were attained by oilseed rape at Oxford and Taupo respectively. Most other sites,
sowings and species combinations produced less than 600 kg oil ha-1. In 2010-11
the crops were much less productive than in the previous year. This was mostly due
to weather events - significant late rainfall at Taupo causing disease problems and
destruction of bird netting by high winds in Canterbury allowing birds to eat the
seeds. As a consequence, oil yields were less than half of the previous year in those
sites. The maximum oil yield was 967 kg ha-1 from oilseed rape sown in September
at Oxford. This study has shown the adaptability of oilseed rape to marginal
environments and the potential of camelina as an alternative biodiesel crop.
Additional keywords: Brassica napus, Brassica juncea, Camelina sativa,
Limnanthes alba
, Thlaspi arvense, yield, oil content, sowing date, sites
ability to grow on marginal agricultural land Brassica napus L. (oilseed rape [OSR]); Brassica juncea (L.) Czern. (brown mustard [BM]); Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz biofuel. This legislation has since been (camelina or false flax [CS]); Limnanthes alba Hartw. Ex Benth. (meadowfoam interest in biofuels worldwide as the price [MF]); Thlaspi arvense L. (pennycress or of petrol and diesel continues to increase field penny-cress [PC]). These were grown (Timilsina and Shrestha, 2011). Ethanol is at three sites representative of large tracts of now widely used as a substitute for petrol. marginal agricultural land in New Zealand. used in New Zealand is diesel (Ministry of Materials and Methods
alternatives for biodiesel have not been widely researched (Painter, 2009). There on marginal soils at three sites (Table 1). has also been much concern, particularly in These were: Ashley Dene, a dryland sheep the USA and Europe, over the utilisation of high quality cropping soils to grow biofuels low fertility site on Ruapuna silt loam in the biofuels (Timilsina and Shrestha, 2011). foothills of the Southern Alps; and near Taupo in the North Island on a light pumice examine the potential of a range of oilseed species to produce biodiesel on marginal ―Flash‖ 2009-10, ―Bravour‖ 2010-11 and land, i.e. land with limitations to growing spring ―Ability‖; BM ‖Centennial‖ PC high yields of food crops. Five species were Accession ―Beecher Field‖; MF ―Floral‖; selected on the basis of yield, oil content,
Table 1:
Soil Test Results 2009 with 2010 in brackets. All values except pH are MAF Quick
Balmoral 5.8(5.6) 39(21) 10(9) 28(23) 12(8) 13(9) 20(26) after the soil moisture deficit was greater five species sown in single blocks, either in than 50% of field capacity. This gave 20 the autumn or spring, and with nitrogen (N) plots per block, four replicates of the five treatments of either 50 or 150 kg N ha-1 species. Plot (or main plot) size varied with applied at sowing. At Oxford, the N inputs 3.5 m x 10 m plots at Taupo and 4.2 m x 10 were subplots of the species, and, at Ashley m plots at Oxford and Ashley Dene. Sowing Dene, the high N plots also received 119 rates at all sites were: OSR 4 kg ha-1, BM 4 mm of irrigation across the growing season kg ha-1, PC 2.5 kg ha-1 (10.5 kg ha-1 Ashley Species for production of biodiesel the soil. Insect control was with diazinon granules at 800 g ha-1 (a.i. diazinon 200 g kg-1) and Attack® at 1 l ha-1 (a.i. 25 g l-1 methyl). After emergence plots were hand (2 hives in 2009 and 4 hives in 2010) and Taupo (1 hive each year) at flowering to ensure pollination. At Oxford there were abundant bees in the adjacent beech forest upper pods started to shatter. At Ashley destroyed by birds soon after emergence, netting prior to normal harvest time. At dates. N treatments of 0, 50 or 150 kg N ha-1 Taupo, resource issues resulted in harvest just prior to pod shattering. In 2009-10 seed yields were taken from 0.6-1.8 m2 at Ashley 2010-11 harvest area was 0.3 m2 at Ashley were abandoned due to premature death. N was applied to all spring sown plots on 23 from each plot by hand using secateurs and reps 1 and 2 on 5 November and reps 3 and dried in a forced air oven at 65°C to a establishment and weeds. BM was not sown at Oxford because of space constraints. At harvest index. The remainder was dried in Taupo N was applied on 8 November. At all sites the experimental design was a split plot with sowing dates as main plots and N levels as sub-plots. Ashley Dene plots were Taupo, whereas at Ashley Dene the entire respectively. Again plots were sown using an Oyjord cone seeder at sowing depths of cylinder hole screen press operating at a throughput of 20-35 g minute-1 with a choke size of 4 mm and operating temperature of 80°C. Sample size extracted was 250 to 300 g. Seed moisture content was determined at glyphosate). Treflan® at 3 l ha-1 (a.i. trifluralin 480 g l-1) was incorporated into spring were equal to LTM‘s, but during All results except oil content and oil yield separation was through the use of Fishers than LTM‘s, respectively. Rainfall over the protected LSD. Oil content and oil yield could not be analysed as to get enough seed (total 519 mm) and nearly identical to the for the press replicates were bulked. This air temperatures were similar to LTM‘s inadequate seed yield to obtain enough seed to press for oil. Meteorological data was collected from Hobo® microstations (Onset results, however, were firstly the 209 mm Massachusetts) located at each site. Before rainfall at Taupo in January, 2011.This is nearly three times the long term January mean of 72 mm, and caused severe disease problems in harvested seed. Secondly, gale Meteorological Service stations. These were down bird netting at Ashley Dene, resulting in significant removal of seed by birds. Germination and Establishment
before sowing in both seasons and showed that while all germinations were greater germination percentages of less than 80% the long term mean of 534 mm. For Oxford rainfall from August to March was 719 mm and for Taupo from May to March rainfall Survival
subsequent overrunning by weeds, led to its These values are very similar to long term abandonment at all sites except the spring means (LTM) as calculated from collected sowing at Ashley Dene. Red clover overran temperatures were nearly identical to long 2010-11
(June to August) was 34% higher than the went prematurely to seed and died in the however, Ashley Dene received 152mm less rainfall than the long term mean. At Species for production of biodiesel Germination percentages of five species sown in a biodiesel experiment in two seasons. Total dry matter
appears to have no effect on TDM in 2010- 2009-10
Seed yields
highly variable (Table 3). In almost all 2009-10
cases the lowest TDM production was from over all sites, sowing dates and input levels (Table 3). At Ashley Dene MF produced up species OSR generally produced the highest less than 900 kg ha-1. At Oxford and Taupo, OSR achieved yields of up to 3,800 kg ha-1 produced at Oxford and over 7,000 kg ha-1 produced up to 1,400 kg ha-1 and 2,800 kg ha-1 respectively at the two sites. Overall 3,778 kg ha-1 (Oxford) followed by CS at Averaged over all sites and species the high 2,915 kg ha-1 (Taupo) and BM at 2,078 kg input treatments of 150 kg ha-1 produced 4,868 kg ha-1 TDM, while the low treatment response to N was inconsistent over sites 2010-11
were very similar to the first: spring Ashley 2010-11
Seed yields in the second growing season were not affected by any of the treatment 4,700 kg ha-1 TDM (Table 4). OSR was the 6,800 kg ha-1 TDM at all sites except the ha-1 TDM) CS produced a similar yield to respectively. Seed yield response to N was considerably less at the other sites. Apart except at Oxford. At this site seed yields of both OSR and CS increased as the level of N applied increased. At the other two sites, Harvest index
in the second growing season were similar harvested crop and may not agree with that to the previous year. However, oil content calculated from the main sample, which had 2009-10
Oil Yields
that considerable seed was lost prior to showed very similar trends to seed yields 2010-11
produced the highest seed yield (1,551 kg Harvest indices were again variable as in ha-1) at Ashley Dene, but, because of its low the first growing season, ranging from 1% expelled oil content, it only produced 322 kg of oil ha-1. OSR produced up to 326 kg oil ha-1 at this site from a very poor crop Thousand seed weight
2009-10 and 2010-11
produced maximum oil yields ha-1 from the spring sown high input (1,518 kg ha-1) and expected, but much less variable between sites and seasons. However at Ashley Dene yields over 900 kg ha-1 at Taupo with BM and Taupo thousand seed weight of OSR in the spring sowings was much less than in sown high input plots. PC and MF produced the autumn sowings. In the second season, thousand seed weights were lower than in 2010-11
Oil content
were very poor, with no crops producing in 2009-10
excess of 1,000 kg oil ha-1 (Table 4). At In the first growing season, expelled oil Species for production of biodiesel Total DM yield, seed yield, harvest index, thousand seed weight, oil content and oil yield at final harvest of five species at three sites in 2009-10 sown in autumn-winter or spring with low or high inputs. NS = non significant *, **, *** = significant at 0.05, 0.01, 0.001 respectively. 1OSR and BM were resown on 25 June. 2also received 119 mm of irrigation. 3Unbracketed LSD is within species (Bracketed LSD is for all other comparisons). Table 4: Total dry matter, seed yield, harvest index, thousand seed weight, oil content and oil
yield at final harvest of three species at three sites in 2010-11 with varying sowing dates and a range of nitrogen application rates. NS = non significant *, **, *** = significant at 0.5, 0.01, 0.001 respectively. 1Unbracketed LSD is within species Bracketed LSD is for all other comparisons. Discussion
84% of this (Malca and Freire, 2011). OSR These results indicate that there are some irrigation trials (Daly and Martin, 1988). producing over 1,000 kg oil ha-1 in marginal environments. In particular, OSR, CS and husbandry, over 4 t ha-1 of seed have been BM produced oil yields in excess of 1,000 kg ha-1 on low fertility soils in Oxford and Biodiesel NZ, pers. comm., 2011). In our trials OSR proved to be a highly adaptive approximately 68% of the world‘s biodiesel Taupo, especially under high inputs (Table 3). At Ashley Dene, which received about Species for production of biodiesel half the rainfall of the other two sites, yields producing 800 and spring 300 kg seed ha-1. Dene and at all sites during seed fill. This latter difficulty necessitated the netting of Ashley Dene site, but not at the other sites where weed competition over grew this low growing crop. Seed weights were high but by the authors eating seed over 100 m into oil extraction and yields were very low, so PC failed to establish at most sites and is known as a shy establisher (Schill, 2008). and 4) These two crops have similar seed This will make it unsuitable for a biodiesel yields and harvest indices to OSR, but seed crop on marginal lands as weeds are likely size and seed oil content were lower for to be a major threat to crop establishment Yields were highest under high inputs at Dene under low inputs. These oilseed crops are unsuitable for drought prone paddocks and will need to be grown in fertile soils However, in the present trials BM seed pods without water stress in order to produce shattered easily and the crop also suffered consistently high yielding crops with high from white rust (Albugo candida (Pers.) Kuntze) during the vegetative growth phase these two seasons compare very favourably with yields reported from overseas. Pavlista fill. So BM did not appear to have enough et al. (2011) reported that in Nebraska, advantages over OSR to continue with it at USA production ranged from 402 to 2,261, all sites in 2010-11. While swathing may 398 to 1,277 and 556 to 1,456 kg ha-1 for have helped reduce shattering, this was not In the first year, yields were affected by a bird damage in these trials, which would be a great advantage for a commercial crop in populations were highly variable (data not New Zealand. Also it matures up to a month earlier than OSR. It therefore may have a small seeds, e.g. thousand seed weight of place as a short season crop to include in a Canada as a short season low input biofuel respectively in 2009 (Table 3). This makes crop (Pilgeram et al., 2007) and yields overseas have been as high as 2.5 t ha-1 under highly fertile conditions and up to 1.7 sowing depth of OSR generally had a negative effect on seed emergence and they Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the Foundation of approximately 10 mm, this was difficult to funding this work and the technicians at the (Taupo) or were wet and infertile (Oxford). (Lincoln), for their technical assistance. We events affected two of the trial sites. Very also thank Gianni Prencipe and Ngai Tahu high rainfall caused disease problems at Farming Ltd (Taupo) for managing the field destroyed all of the bird netting at Ashley trials, and Margaret Campbell, Biodiesel Dene. Both events led to severe seed loss and hence reduced yields. This is a good indication of the increased risks arable References
Daly, M.J. and Martin, R.J. 1988. Oilseed rape: the effects of rate, timing and form Conclusions
Lismore soil. Proceedings Agronomy Society of New Zealand 18: 97-102. Malca, J. and Freire, F. 2011. Life-cycle studies of biodiesel in Europe: A review addressing the variability of results and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15: 338-351. crops will require fertile soils or high Painter, D. 2009. Are biofuels the future or a folly?: a review. New Zealand Journal Species for production of biodiesel Pavlista, A.D., Isbell, T.A., Baltensperger, Schill, S.R. 2008. Making pennycress pay camelina. Industrial Crops and Products Pilgeram, A.L., Sands, D.C., Boss, D., Dale, B. and Johnson, D.L. 2007. Camelina sativa, a Montana omega-3 and fuel crop. pp.129-131 In: Issues in new crops and new uses. Eds Janick, J. and Whipkey, A. Species for production of biodiesel

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