Farmers can see up to a 50% increase in profitability. Farmers already planting a no-yield winter cover crop may also see their seed and planting costs recovered. Here is the math (per Acre):
Seed sold to Metro Ag ($2.50/BU) $100.00
2018 Harvest Incentive ($0.75/BU)* $30.00
Total Est. Revenue: (per acre) $130.00
Seed (10 lbs.) $1.50
Fertilizer (not needed)
Shatter Prevention (glyphosate) $20.00
Harvest (combine) $25.00
Est. Trans. to Metro Ag (40 BU) $11.50
Total Estimated Costs: $70.00
Estimated Net Profit: (per acre) $60.00
* Farmers contracting with Metro Ag before the planting of Pennycress in September, will receive an additional "Harvest Incentive" the following Spring.
(above estimates may vary)
3) Reduction in Soil Erosion
Pennycress has been proven to help with soil erosion, top soil loss, nitrogen loss and water pollution. Pennycress suppresses weeds.
Metro Ag Energy is an energy industry leader in producing superior biodiesel from Pennycress. Metro Ag is dedicated to working with farmers to buy as much Pennycress as farmers are willing to produce. Just a single acre of Pennycress results in 100 gallons of oil. There is no additional equipment or infrastructure needed and Pennycress is a winter cover crop so it doesn't compete with a farmer's primary crop. The major farming benefits include
Planting PENNYCRESS as a Cover Crop Benefits Farmers
2) Soil Nutrification
Farmers have reported being able to double crop soybeans without reduction in yield. Some farmers have experienced an increase in soybean yield of 2 to 5 bushels per acre following Pennycress.
Metro Ag Energy is considered the industry leader in Pennycress research. Our team has grown Pennycress as a cover crop for several years and we understand what it takes to grow a successful Pennycress crop. How do you plant Field Pennycress seed? Here is our "recipe for success" which has yielded 40+ bushels with our farming:
1) Seeding: Planting Pennycress is inexpensive and fast. Pennycress is planted anywhere between the 2nd week in September thru the 3rd week in October. Typically between 5lbs. to 10lbs per acre is required for a good, bountiful crop. Conduct a burn down about a week prior to planting. Harrow the ground and insure the ground is at 85% moisture or higher. (It usually is this time of year. If not, wet it down.) Broadcast the seed and you are done. Pennycress can be drilled or disked in. But the seed should not be put in the ground any deeper than 1/2 inch. Some farmers like to aerial seed, but don't do that on a windy day. In addition, typically 20 lbs. of seed per acre may be necessary.
2) Fertilization: None required.
3) Shatter Prevention: When Pennycress is ready to be harvested, it turns a light yellowish green color. If you have concerns that shattering may occur, do a burn down prior to harvesting. Allow a day or two before harvesting.
4) Harvesting: Harvest time comes about the 3rd week in May. Your current harvest combine can be used. You will need a screen with holes small enough to accommodate the Pennycress seed. Perforations should be approximately 1mm. Fabrication of such a screen is estimated to be approximately $200. (Some farmers have said you can adjust the setting between Canola & Flaxseed.) Remember to turn the air down as the Pennycress seed is small and light.
5) Cashing in: Bring your seed to Metro Ag. We will pay you for your Pennycress over winter cover crop. Farmers who contract with Metro Ag before planting in September will receive an additional "Harvest Incentive".
Who buys Field Pennycress seed? Metro Ag Energy, Inc.
How do you sell Field Pennycress seed? Call 586-883-3343
Our Recipe For A Great PENNYCRESS Crop
The Metro Ag team was successful in getting Pennycress seed de-listed as a restricted noxious weed in the State of Michigan:
FIELD PENNYCRESS Seed Is No Longer Regulated (as of 11/13/2015)
Below are some references to research articles and videos (by the USDA, farmers, university researchers, etc.) regarding the farming of Pennycress as a winter cover crop. These references are not intended to be endorsements of Metro Ag Energy but merely information a farmer might find useful. Any excerpt taken from an article is to help stimulate interest in reading the full article and to stimulate interest in Pennycress in general:
"New off-season crop development is critical to the future sustainability of the United States (U.S.) agriculture by reducing the farmer’s dependence on government subsidies for a select few commodity crops such as corn and soybeans, and by supplementing our need for energy without decreasing food production (food vs. fuel)."
Replacement of Petroleum Products Utilizing Off-Season Rotational Crops, USDA - 2016
"Pennycress naturally grows in disturbed areas with little competition, such as harvested corn fields lying bare and unproductive."
New crop could raise income, produce biofuel, limit climate change, save soil, by Becky Wildt - October 6, 2016
"...research from 2009 and 2010 in west central Illinois demonstrated increased soybean yields following a field pennycress winter crop compared to where no winter annual crop was grown." and "There are currently no commercial processors of field pennycress in the U.S. Farmers wanting to grow pennycress may have the opportunity in the future to contract with a processor."
Pennycress, by Margaret Smith, Iowa State University - April 2015
University of Minnesota research student talks about how Pennycress helps with weed suppression (helping eliminate the need for herbicides) and helps with soil erosion, top soil loss, and water pollution.
YouTube publication - February 12, 2013
"As an extremely low-input crop, Pennycress uses fertilizer already in the soil. It can even scavenge remaining nitrogen from previous crops, which would otherwise run off."
Pennycress Gets In The Middle, by Chris Bennet (Farm Journal)
“Many farmers say they are interested in growing cover crops, but can’t pencil out the $30- to $50-per-acre costs to plant and terminate them,” says Handel. “Pennycress aims to deliver the cover crop benefits and earn money for the farmer.”
Pennycress: From Weed to Jet Fuel, by Lisa Kopochinski - January 2017
"The addition of a fall-planted pennycress cover crop should reduce nutrient leaching and erosion, which would help sustain current farming practices."
A draft genome of field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) provides tools for the domestication of a new winter biofuel crop
by Kevin M Dorn, Johnathon D. Fankhauser, Donald L. Wyse, M. David Marks - January 27, 2015
"The plant's seeds have the potential to be solid oil producers, and leftover meal can be used to make livestock feed. But its strongest trait may be the fact it grows in the winter, when most Midwestern fields are empty."
Pennycress vies to join corn, soybeans, Tribune News Service - February 19, 2015
"This result suggests that field pennycress biodiesel is better suited for use in cold climates than many other biodiesel fuels, such as soybean oil-based biodiesel."
Pennycress Could Go from Nuisance Weed to New Source of Biofuel, by USDA - November 4, 2010
"We found that pennycress protein had equivalent or better nutritional quality than soybean protein isolate"
Preparation, composition and functional properties of pennycress, by USDA - July 25, 2014
"With pennycress' early harvest date, a full season soybean can be grown on the same acreage immediately following harvest."
Welcome to the Pennycress Resource Network,WIU Agriculture - 2014
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