Last Wednesday 15th June, Agri-food Cooperatives of Spain organised, within the framework of the 4CE-MED Project and with the support of Camelina Company España, the AEAC.SV and Cereales Alcamancha S.C., a field visit to Valparaíso de Abajo (Cuenca) to witness the camelina harvest by farmers from Alcamancha. The visit was attended by 15 members of the cooperative interested in learning about new alternatives for the area and more sustainable cultivation practices. Through this type of information sessions and visits, the project aims to provide farmers with new alternatives for better decision making and to increase sustainability in the management of their farms, as well as to gather their impressions and reticence in this regard.
During the course of the day, and thanks to the presence of technical staff from Camelina Company España, the Alcamancha farmers were able to learn about and discuss agronomic aspects of camelina management, the necessary adjustments to the harvester, the estimated yields versus those obtained, the market price, the differences between conventional sowing and direct sowing, etc.
On the other hand, Agri-food Cooperatives of Spain highlighted the good fit of this improver crop within the eco-regimes of the new CAP for Spain, as well as the application of sustainable practices promoted within the framework of conservation agriculture. The partners were reminded of the need to implement these types of practices in the future (2023) in order to be able to receive economic aid equivalent to that which has existed up to now.
The benefits of introducing conservation agriculture were highlighted by the staff of the Spanish Association of Conservation Agriculture and Living Soils (AEAC.SV). These practices consist basically of the elimination of tillage (reduction of fuel consumption), the fixing of vegetation cover (increase in soil moisture) and diversification. All of them are currently of great interest in the current context of high input and energy prices, as well as the volatility of the oilseed markets.
Currently, the main use of camelina in Spain is the production of biokerosene, using the cake produced in the oil extraction process for animal feed.
Despite the drought experienced at the beginning of the year in Spain, camelina has shown excellent behaviour and adaptation to the drought. This type of crop will be very necessary to face climate change in the future, especially in areas that already have arid or semi-arid climates such as the Alcarria and Mancha Alta regions where the Cereales Alcamancha cooperative is based. With a view to the next season, the cooperative intends to introduce camelina in rotations in areas with low yields under direct sowing, a form of cultivation that is currently not very widespread among its members.