Carinata Summit 2019 & SPARC Annual Meeting – March 5-6

Carinata Summit 2019 & SPARC Annual Meeting – March 5-6

The 2019 Carinata Summit will be held March 5 and 6 at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research & Education Center in Quincy, Florida (155 Research Road, Quincy, FL).  Topics for discussion at the event will include:  the public-private partnership for carinata supply chain development, focus groups related to feedstock development and best management practices, adoption and outreach, fuel and bioproduct development, enhancing carinata meal value, system sustainability, and carinata field tours.  This two-day event provides a great venue for networking, and identifying opportunities to collaborate.

6th Carinata Biomaterial Summit & 2nd SPARC Annual Meeting
Tentative Agenda (All times listed in Eastern Time Zone)
March 5, 2019 (Industry Focus)
8:00-8:30 AM: Check-in
8:30-8:45 AM: Welcome Address
8:45-10:00 AM: 1st slot of talks (Speaker 1: Agrisoma; Speaker 2: TBC; Speaker 3: TBC)
10:00-10:30 AM: Break and Poster Session
10:30-Noon-2nd slot of talks (high level-Speaker 1: ARA; Speaker 2: TBC; Speaker 3: CAAFI)
Noon to 1:30 PM-Lunch and Networking
1:30-3:00 PM-Presentations-agronomy & breeding, best management practices, meal and coproducts, fuel (15 minutes limit)
3:00-3:30 PM-Break and Poster Session
3:30-5:00 PM-Presentations-system metrics, supply chain, social science, extension, education and workforce development (15 minutes limit)
Dinner and Adjourn

March 6, 2019 (Producer Focus)
8:00-8:30 AM: Check-in
8:30-9:30 AM: Welcome address & talks (carinata supply chain, crop insurance, whole farm economics)
9:30 to 11:00 AM: Field day-tours of select carinata studies in Quincy with in-field talks
11:15 AM-12:30 PM: Panel or fishbowl conversation with producers, researchers, extension agents, industry partners-Social Science Team facilitates
12:30-1:30 PM: Lunch
Larger summit group adjourns – SPARC convenes for 2nd SPARC Annual Meeting

To register call or email:
Sheeja George at
850-284-1334 / 850-875-7136

Scientists Share Latest Research and Production Tips at Carinata Field Days Across the Southeast

Scientists Share Latest Research and Production Tips at Carinata Field Days Across the Southeast

Ian Small, UF/IFAS Plant Pathologist, discussed disease management and advanced scouting tools at the Carinata Field Day in Quincy, FL.

Authors: Dan Geller, Ben Christ, Wendy-Lin Bartels, Bill Hubbard, Sheeja George, Ian Small, David Wright

This Spring, both farmers and researchers in the Southeast United States are at work. Inside the farm gate, producers are taking advantage of every opportunity to be out with their crops, putting in extra time to ensure their production goals for the season will be met. At the same time, researchers participating in the Southeastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC), a USDA NIFA CAP funded grant project, are putting in long hours in the field, greenhouses, and laboratories to develop new varieties of carinata, an emerging oilseed crop in the Southeastern US.

Carinata is grown in the cool-season to provide a second cash crop that can be used to produce high-grade jet fuel, diesel, gasoline and animal feed, as well as provide cover crop benefits. SPARC scientists are working on best management practices for production, and post-harvest uses of the seed to help producers by increasing yields and profitability of carinata. Maintaining the connection between scientists and producers is imperative. Early in its formation, SPARC leadership foresaw the need for a strong and diverse extension team that would serve as a bridge between scientists, producers, and regional extension agents.

David Wright, UF/IFAS Agronomist, discussed carinata production best management practices at the Carinata Field Day in Tifton, GA.

The SPARC team hosted carinata field days in Jay, and Quincy, Florida, Milstead, Alabama, and Tifton, Georgia this spring. The SPARC events in Jay, FL (February) and Quincy, FL (March) attracted over 50 interested farmers, extension agents, academics, and agency representatives who came to learn more about carinata production from SPARC experts and collaborators. SPARC members presented topics on carinata production including weed, pest, disease and fertility management. The team also discussed planting and harvesting techniques as well as timing of planting and harvest to fit into common crop rotations in the Southeast. An overview of carinata contracts and crop insurance was also provided to attendees of these events. The field days provided the opportunity to observe carinata in the field and discussion included details of SPARC experiments at each site.

Some of the key points addressed at the field days were:

  1. Carinata genotype multi-location trials are underway to evaluate advanced breeding lines under diverse environmental conditions. Crop improvement efforts continue to target enhanced cold tolerance, early maturity, high oil and seed yield in carinata
  2. Carinata’s “fit” as a winter cash crop in Southeast cropping systems was emphasized
  3. Best management practices for carinata production were discussed – timely planting is key (early to mid-November for North Florida). For more details on row spacing, nutrient management, pest management, harvest management, seed depth, tillage requirements refer to the production manual and other resources on;
  4. Crop insurance stipulations for carinata were discussed. For more details on production contracts and insurance contact a representative from Agrisoma
  5. The importance of a life cycle analysis (LCA) to understand the overall impact of carinata production in the southeast was presented. Ongoing research is focused on increasing value to stakeholders in the carinata supply chain – from seed supplier to producer, handler, processor, fuel and coproduct end-user

Austin Hagan, Auburn Plant Pathologist, discussed disease management and variety evaluations at the Alabama Carinata Field Day.

One of the team’s primary objectives is to understand the farmers’ expectations and what they would need to effectively grow the crop during the winter months. Dr. Wendy-Lin Bartels and Benjamin Christ, both from the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation, are social scientists leading SPARC’s understanding of the barriers and opportunities that may exist for producers in the Southeast to adopt carinata. They began with broad questions directed to the many stakeholders involved with SPARC and have since directed their focus to regional agents and producers. Through surveys at Carinata Field Days and phone interviews, Wendy-Lin and Ben have constructed a model of the barriers and opportunities relevant to producers in the Southeast. This information is directed back to SPARC and serves as the producers’ collective voice as researchers continue their work to develop better, regionally appropriate varieties of carinata.

Agrisoma representatives discussed production and marketing options at the Carinata Field Day in Jay, FL.

As carinata harvest approaches and field studies wind down for the year, the extension team will begin to work with SPARC researchers to develop tools to provide farmers the most up-to-date publications. The extension team has already started a working relationship with the feedstock team, which is expected to result in several critical publications to be published by extension in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The team will soon begin work on the first of the SPARC e-Learning courses to be developed during the program which will utilize expertise from all the SPARC research teams to provide continuing education to extension agents, crop advisers, and other key stakeholders in the carinata supply chain.


Carinata SPARCs Interest as a Winter Crop for the Southeast U.S.

Carinata SPARCs Interest as a Winter Crop for the Southeast U.S.

Ian Small, Ramdeo Seepaul, Mike Mulvaney and David Wright, UF/IFAS Researchers

This week a Qantas jet flew from the United States to Australia using biofuel generated from Brassica carinata (carinata). This event was just one of several exciting developments involving carinata that have happened over the past year. Strong markets exist for the fuel, co-products and meal that can be produced from carinata seed.  This is creating an opportunity to establish carinata as a winter crop for producers here in the Southeastern U.S. To accelerate the establishment of commercial carinata production in the southeastern US, a consortium known as the Southeastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC), will work to address barriers to production, and reduce risk along the supply chain. The SPARC team is comprised of scientists from several Southeastern universities, government agencies, industry (Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., and Applied Research Associates Inc.), and a consortium representing the commercial aviation industry. The establishment of this team was made possible with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Our goal is to commercialize Carinata to produce jet fuel and feed for livestock while mitigating risks along the entire supply chain,” says David Wright, project lead and an agronomy professor at the University of Florida.

In this article, two key objectives of the SPARC feedstock development team are highlighted:  to assist with the selection of varieties suited to the Southeastern U.S., and to optimize the cropping systems fit of carinata with traditional crop rotations.

Testing Advanced Carinata Varieties Across the Southeast

Over the past 5 years, scientists at the University of Florida and Agrisoma have been screening advanced carinata varieties to identify high yielding, early maturing, cold hardy, and disease tolerant varieties, with high oil content, and desirable fatty acid composition. As a result, several varieties have been identified that provide opportunities to increase carinata seed yield by 40%, and increase oil yield by 2%, over existing commercial varieties. After benefiting from several years of selection and testing in the region, Agrisoma’s breeding pipeline of varieties promise even higher yielding, earlier maturing varieties, that would complement prevalent summer crop rotation systems in the US Southeast. Successful commercialization of carinata based renewables will depend on reliable and sustainable year round availability of feedstock; therefore expansion of carinata production across the Southeastern U.S., as determined by adaptability, will strengthen the supply chain.

To establish the suitability of locations in the Southeast for carinata production, SPARC cooperators planted 16 advanced carinata breeding lines that have potential for near future commercial deployment at 15 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. This multi-site regional testing approach will assess the yield potential, determine production sensitivity to resource management and climate variables, and identify productive regions for commercialization and supply chain development.

Figure 1. Carinata yield trials at the North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL. Photo credit: Ian Small

This regional study is already yielding useful information about these advanced lines. The cold weather at the start of the 2018 year provided a major test of the resilience of the varieties against cold damage. This information will be key to selecting the next commercial varieties for the Southeastern U.S.

Testing Sustainable Crop Rotations with Winter Carinata in the Southeast

As commercial carinata acreage expands from the Panhandle of Florida to more northern states in the Southeast, it is important to determine the latitudinal limits of winter production, and quantify cultural practices that enhance cold tolerance. Tillage practices are expected to play an important role in the degree of frost tolerance of carinata due to the maintenance of crop residue on the soil surface which may protect the crop from freeze damage, and due to differences in soil temperature during establishment. Integration of fertility management is important on the characteristic sandy soils of the Southeast in order to meet crop demand as well as limit nutrient movement to water bodies and groundwater. Fitting carinata into current crop rotations will provide growers with additional income, but rotations that are economically and agronomically feasible are still being investigated. Existing common cropping systems in the Southeast include corn, cotton, peanut, soybean, and sorghum. The selection of regionally appropriate cropping systems for double cropping carinata is currently limited by the planting and harvest window of summer cash crops.

Figure 2. Carinata production field in Central Georgia. Photo credit: Christine Bliss

Research on early maturing carinata lines, combined with harvest management practices ideal for the Southeast, will help overcome that limitation. Integration of tillage, fertility, and rotations for sustainable carinata production may provide enhanced ecosystem services for water quality, carbon sequestration, and integrated weed management. The effects of previous summer crops on carinata production, as well as the effects of carinata production on subsequent summer crops, will be determined in two long-term cropping systems studies in Jay and Quincy, Florida. Researchers will determine regions suitable for sustainable carinata production in the Southeast, and identify those rotations that are both economically and agronomically viable. Tillage effects on frost tolerance of carinata will be quantified, and recommendations will be developed and extended to growers and industry professionals through field days and workshops.

For more information, consider attending of the upcoming Carinata Summit or one of the regional field days:

For more information on carinata production and recent projects with the biofuel made from carinata, use the following links:
General background
Sotheastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata
UF/IFAS Carinata Research
Carinata Production Recommendations for the Southeastern United States
Agrisoma Carinata Production website
Agrisoma Renewable Energy website
Press release: Canadian Bio Fuel Company Announces Significant Collaboration with University of Florida
Applied Research Associates (ARA)
Press release: ARA partners with the University of Florida to commercialize sustainable fuels and co-products from carinata
Recent developments
Biofuels Digest article:  SPARC in the Engine: Florida aims to be an alternative jet fuels hub as new public/private project debuts
Biofuels Digest article: Farm to flight – Carinata crop commercialization takes off
Biofuels Digest article: Qantas, Agrisoma, Honeywell, AltAir, WFS partner in historic first Pacific jet biofuels flight
Australian Aviation article: Qantas flight QF96 to feature biofuel blend