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Canada-spain camelina industry development project

Camelina is an ancient crop in some regions, but it still needs to overcome some challenges in order to become efficient and sustainable. Canadian-spanish collaboration can provide key synergies to boost camelina expansion, focusing on the salmon aquaculture industry market.

Recent small and large scale field evaluation research has shown that it is agronomically possible to produce a quality camelina crop in Maritime Canada. Although we have established a base for production, field yields in our region remain lower than those achieved in western provinces and mid-west United States. This suggests that we still have some further work to do to determine what our limiting factors are. Spanish grain yields have achieved similar values and through joint research we can achieve double the amount of data within one calendar year, with growing seasons occurring back to back. The key next steps will be to determine how to make the system more efficient to maximize return, determine any limiting environmental factors, identify and quantify market advantage compared to other similar oilseeds, and establish a value chain that is sustainable and economically viable for both Minas Seed Coop Ltd (MINAS) as well as the Camelina Company Espana (CCE) both in the short term, while markets are limited in Canada, as well as the long term, when the North American market is further developed. This project will conduct multi-year, multi-location field research examining variety-specific performance, production efficiencies, and environmental limitations on camelina production in both Atlantic Canada as well as in Spain. Field research will compare seeding efficiency, seedling emergence and establishment based on varying soil chemistry and environmental conditions, fungicide control for emerging diseases seen in both regions, harvest efficiencies, nutrient balance and varietal performance in the various regions. All previous research data will be evaluated and compared using statistical modeling and analysis to determine if there are any trends related to performance markers and varying soil and/or environmental conditions. In an effort to build market position and prove sustainability of the camelina crop, the project will also involve an evaluation of the environmental impact of the crop. Items of investigation in this effort will include land usage impact, greenhouse gas emissions, and the carbon-water lifecycle resulting from the commercial production of camelina. Camelina products produced in Atlantic Canada and Spain meet the majority of the product specifications required for the markets we would be interested in entering. These markets are currently limited in Canada due to regulatory constraints and the Canadian biofuel market is monopolized by companies in Mid-western United States and Saskatchewan. The Maritime provinces however provide excellent environment for quality seed production due to field isolation, which allows for maintenance of seed purity and quality. Spain provides a much more open market with both camelina co-products, oil and meal, having opportunities for growth. The co-product of mechanical pressing, camelina meal, exceeds the quality of other meal products being used in animal and aquaculture feed, with the exception of relatively high glucosinolate values, which may currently impede the potential of the product in commercial feed supplementation. Camelina currently produced in Spain, however, is below the glucosinolate levels and could easily meet the standard requirements for feed in our region upon approval. There are currently varieties being developed that express an oil profile, specifically omega 3 fatty acids and glucosinolate levels, that would give market advantage to both parties involved in the project, especially for salmon aquaculture. It is the intent of the project to develop and license at least 2 varieties of camelina that can meet a higher than currently available standard for yield as well as product quality for both co-products based on commercial feed standards. Although the market opportunities are restricted in North America and in particular Canada, the pursuit of the product is increasing along with the lobby for approvals. Interested parties both public and private have been working on the industry development for almost 10 years, although slow progress there are at least three feed applications in process at the moment, including aquafeed. Simultaneously with production and indsutrial process improvement studies it is the intent of the project to examine the most sustainable and economically advantageous value chain for camelina exchange between Atlantic Canada and Spain. This will include the identification/forecast of -besides salmon aquaculture markets- new target markets for various products both in short term (2-3 yrs) and long term (5 yrs+), evaluation of transport vectors based on product condition and economical volumes during various seasonal production periods and market locations, and the determination of market distribution between project partners and product flow between parties.
Acronym: 
CSCID
Project ID: 
10 739
Start date: 
30-09-2016
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
670 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Agricultural technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.