Russ Gesch is prospecting for oil.
The Minnesota plant physiologist leads research on several promising oilseed crops that could fit into Upper Midwest corn and soybean rotations. The new crops, including calendula and winter camelina, produce specialized oils for biofuels and other industrial uses.
“These dedicated energy crops could be quite profitable,” says Gesch, a scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Morris, MN, “and that’s what will be required to add diversity to corn-soybean cropping systems.”
Here’s a quick look at some of the new industrial oil crops under development: