Mediterranean farmers have a really limited choice for winter crops to put in rotation with cereals, thus creating big challenges for weed and disease management. Crop diversification has undisputable environmental benefits and plays a central role in the agroecological transition toward sustainable and resilient farming systems. Among other crop candidates, safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is recently attracting the attention of Mediterranean farmers, due its broad environmental suitability, low input needs, high plant vigor, also in marginal soil conditions, and tolerance to low temperatures. Thus, in the whole Mediterranean basin, safflower could be grown with a winter cycle, differently than sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). The availability in the market of high-oleic safflower varieties tremendously enlarges the applications of its oils, easily meeting the needs of the domestic bio-based industry. Aiming at evaluating the feasibility of high-oleic safflower as a winter oilseed crop in the Mediterranean region, a multi-year and multi-location study has been carried out, across multiple growing seasons (2019–2021), at eight locations across Emilia-Romagna (ER) and Tuscany (TU) regions (Italy), traditionally devoted to winter cereal cultivation. In each region, the locations were chosen as representative of optimal, mean, and marginal conditions. The trials were managed as on-farm experiments by local farmers, to define safflower suitability to available equipment and practices. All trials were rainfed and carried out under low input agronomic management and using mechanical weed control. The safflower seed yield was not affected by growing region (grand mean: 1775 kg DM ha-1), while 1000-seed weight and seed oil content were significantly influenced by growing environment. In particular, safflower produced significantly heavier seeds in Emilia Romagna (40.8 vs. 38.2 g, ER vs. TU, respectively, P ≤ 0.05), while seed oil content was higher in Tuscany (TU vs. ER, 40.3 vs. 36.1% DM respectively, P ≤ 0.05). Safflower confirmed its compositional stability with oleic acid representing > 75% of total fatty acids, but, again, some differences were revealed between regions, with ER having significantly higher oleic acid content than TU (78.8 vs. 75.9%, ER vs. TU, respectively). High oleic safflower, grown in winter, confirmed to be an interesting opportunity for Mediterranean farmers who are willing to differentiate their rotations while producing an oilseed crop with several biobased applications and able to increase local production of vegetable oil and protein.

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) a winter multipurpose oilseed crop for the Mediterranean region: Lesson learnt from on-farm trials

Luciana G. Angelini;Lara Foschi;Clarissa Clemente;Alessandro Rossi;Silvia Tavarini
2022

Abstract

Mediterranean farmers have a really limited choice for winter crops to put in rotation with cereals, thus creating big challenges for weed and disease management. Crop diversification has undisputable environmental benefits and plays a central role in the agroecological transition toward sustainable and resilient farming systems. Among other crop candidates, safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is recently attracting the attention of Mediterranean farmers, due its broad environmental suitability, low input needs, high plant vigor, also in marginal soil conditions, and tolerance to low temperatures. Thus, in the whole Mediterranean basin, safflower could be grown with a winter cycle, differently than sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). The availability in the market of high-oleic safflower varieties tremendously enlarges the applications of its oils, easily meeting the needs of the domestic bio-based industry. Aiming at evaluating the feasibility of high-oleic safflower as a winter oilseed crop in the Mediterranean region, a multi-year and multi-location study has been carried out, across multiple growing seasons (2019–2021), at eight locations across Emilia-Romagna (ER) and Tuscany (TU) regions (Italy), traditionally devoted to winter cereal cultivation. In each region, the locations were chosen as representative of optimal, mean, and marginal conditions. The trials were managed as on-farm experiments by local farmers, to define safflower suitability to available equipment and practices. All trials were rainfed and carried out under low input agronomic management and using mechanical weed control. The safflower seed yield was not affected by growing region (grand mean: 1775 kg DM ha-1), while 1000-seed weight and seed oil content were significantly influenced by growing environment. In particular, safflower produced significantly heavier seeds in Emilia Romagna (40.8 vs. 38.2 g, ER vs. TU, respectively, P ≤ 0.05), while seed oil content was higher in Tuscany (TU vs. ER, 40.3 vs. 36.1% DM respectively, P ≤ 0.05). Safflower confirmed its compositional stability with oleic acid representing > 75% of total fatty acids, but, again, some differences were revealed between regions, with ER having significantly higher oleic acid content than TU (78.8 vs. 75.9%, ER vs. TU, respectively). High oleic safflower, grown in winter, confirmed to be an interesting opportunity for Mediterranean farmers who are willing to differentiate their rotations while producing an oilseed crop with several biobased applications and able to increase local production of vegetable oil and protein.
Zanetti, Federica; Angelini, Luciana G.; Berzuini, Sara; Foschi, Lara; Clemente, Clarissa; Ferioli, Federico; Vecchi, Angela; Rossi, Alessandro; Monti, Andrea; Tavarini, Silvia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/1145634
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