Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Jason Tullis

Committee Member

Song Feng

Second Committee Member

Fiona Davidson

Abstract

Camelina sativa is a cold weather crop that is typically grown in semi-arid environments in the Western United States, usually as a spring crop, but sometimes during the winter. Research analyzing climate data and soil hydrology is important to better understand the environmental and terrain conditions necessary for Camelina farming wherever it is proposed for large-scale production. This study focused on various conditions and constraints pertaining to the potential for Camelina as a crop biofuel in Eastern Arkansas. Due to interest in the economic potential of crop biofuels in this area, and in particular the low input costs for Camelina, experimental farming began as early as 2013. Farmers in Eastern Arkansas grow soybeans during the summer and fall months, leaving Camelina to be grown in the winter and spring months as a potential second rotational crop. Initial experiments have been unsuccessful, with farmers attributing this result to suboptimal climate and soil conditions. Data and research compiled from literature, along with climate and soil hydrology data in the region show significant differences in environmental conditions in Eastern Arkansas when compared to areas of successful Camelina farming. Previous research has shown that Camelina requires at most 15 inches of rainfall, with successful yields in California from just 7.5 inches of rainfall. Camelina grows best in semi-arid environments, with research and field trials indicating the crop having difficulty growing in wetter regions. Results of the study indicate that climate and terrain conditions in Eastern Arkansas are far too wet, and do not seem suitable for large-scale Camelina production. However, small-scale Camelina production may be viable in select suitable fields.