Although the equine industry wasn’t Linnaeus Plant Sciences’ (LPSI) main target for marketing their camelina product, the company has formed a new bond with horse owners across Canada.
LPSI owns new varieties of high yielding and disease resistant camelina. The company says the oil from the crop is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and this caught the attention of horse owners. Adding omega-3s to equine diets helps supplement rations when consuming dry hay instead of fresh grass, as they would in the summer.
“It gives horses’ coats a nice glossy sheen, allows for healthy hair growth, and is good for their skin when they get itchy and dry in the winter from wearing blankets,” says Jenna Tranter of Four Corners Equestrian, who has been working in sales with LPSI.
According to the news release, the camelina oil, which is added to their grain or on top of hay, also improves their gastrointestinal health.
It’s not just the equine industry finding a fit for the specialty crop, as the fishing industry is using camelina to replace fish oil in aquaculture diets. With the addition of the oil, it makes the sector more sustainable, according to LPSI.
According to LPSI president, Jack Grushcow, entering the renewable oils-based market is challenging, but long-term support from Guelph-based Oilseed Innovation Partners (OIP) has helped his company advance their camelina business as well as development of more applications, such as renewable, plant-based lubricants.
“Our role is to support market development and commercialization opportunities for the Canadian oilseed industry, whether food, industrial or agricultural applications,” says OIP CEO Jeff Schmalz. “There is tremendous potential in the sector and it is our mandate to unlock that potential and drive value to the Canadian economy by working with companies like Linnaeus Plant Sciences to advance their business.”
The oilseed is a drought-tolerant crop that requires few inputs and grows well on dry land. On the other hand, for companies interested in the oil, the potential is significant and yet to be explored, says Grushcow.
“We are working on equine products now, but are planning to expand into similar products for pets, and there is interest from the cosmetic and health drink sectors too,” Grushcow says, adding there is also a growing export market in China, where the oil, with its high smoke point, is popular for frying.