The Northwest Crops & Soils Program developed a new versatile harvesting tool for small-scale oilseed production. View this YouTube Video to see a customized small-scale swather.
UVM Extension Ag Engineer Chris Callahan and Penn State researcher Doug Schaufler teamed up to present a webinar on pressing oilseed crops for biodiesel and human consumption. You can access a PDF of the presentation by clicking here.
The 2014 Annual Oilseed Producers Workshop was A BIG SUCCESS!
Thank you very much for attending the Oilseed Workshop on March 3! We had 43 attendees from across the Northeast– the list included growers, processors, energy consultants, homesteaders, bureaucrats, and researchers. You can find conference proceedings here.
- Sunflower Insects: Scouting and Identification
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: Storage and Cleaning
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: Oilseed Presses
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: Oil Filtration
- Small-Scale Processing of Locally Produced Edible Oils
- Small-Scale Oilseed Presses: An Evaluation of Six Commercially-Available Designs
- Small-Scale Oilseed Processing Guide
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: Overview of Small-Scale Oilseed Processing
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: Processing Edible Oils
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: Processing Regulations
- Oilseed Fact Sheet: The Regional Picture
Oilseeds, such as sunflower and canola, are swiftly becoming a new diversifying crop for farming operations in Vermont. Oil extracted from the oilseeds is being used for on-farm fuel production, and the leftover meal is pelleted and used as a high protein livestock feed. Farmers are getting two bangs for their buck! Alternatively a few farmers are growing the oil and selling a high value food-grade culinary oil. The goal of our Extension program is to develop best practices for oilseed production in a temperate climate.
We compiled research and agronomic advice for sunflower and canola growers into the publication “Oilseed Production in the Northeast,” which is designed to provide basic information on planting, production, pest management, harvesting, and processing seed. Because oilseed crops are relatively new to the Northeast, making use of regional research is key to establishing a good crop.
Curious about the growers who are making oilseed production work here in Vermont? Click on this link to read profiles on some of the conventional and organic farms that are successfully growing oilseed crops for feed, fuel, and/or food.
In 2013, researchers from UVM Extension and Penn State University Extension evaluated six different designs of small-scale oilseed presses. All of the presses are being used on farms now for cold-pressing crops like sunflower, canola, and soybeans. Researchers wanted to capture some of the knowledge of current producers and also help develop best practices for these mills. You can find out more by reading the full report or watching the video. Hannah Harwood and Chris Callahan presented some of their results at the 2014 Annual Oilseed Producers Meeting; their report is available here.
Vermont Oilseed Crop Production Cost and Profit Calculator Release 1.4 (xls). Brought to you by a joint effort between UVM Extension and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. As Part of the VSJF’s ongoing Vermont Biofuels Initiative and UVM Extension’s research, this tool is intended to help farmers determine their total cost of production for oilseeds and oilseed products (e.g. meal, oil, biodiesel.) The tool also allows the user to determine a potential profit based on assumed market pricing for these products. Summary results are provided as reference and are based on either compiled Vermont oilseed grower data or other published data from other parts of the USA. Whenever possible, the user should carefully review their own specific data to arrive at the entered information.
If you’re curious about the economic viability of oilseed crops in Vermont, please take a look at this recent report Vermont’s On-Farm Oilseed Enterprises from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s Vermont Bioenergy Initiative. The report provides an in-depth look into some of the costs of production, equipment, and facilities involved in producing fuel with homegrown oilseeds, including figures on break-even prices, profitability, and market values.
The Farm Fresh Fuel Project, which took place in Grand Isle County, Vermont in 2012 as a pilot project, aims to involve as many farmers as possible in the production of oilseed crops. By focusing on this one VT county, where farmers and community members are involved in implementation and delivery, oilseed crop yields will be improved and more farmers will adopt the practice of growing sunflowers and canola, specifically. For more information on 2012 results, click here.
2010 National Canola Variety Trial (pdf)
2009 Oilseed Meal Report- Assessing the Value of Oilseed meals for Soil Fertility and Weed Suppression (pdf)
2008 Sunflower Report (pdf)
Small-Scale Oilseed Production, by Renee Ciulla for the Rodale Institute – December 17, 2012
Technical Feasibility of Small-Scale Oilseed and On-Farm Biodiesel Production: A Vermont Case Study, in the Journal of Extension – December 2012
Oilseed Crops Give Farmers Options, by Andrea Suozzo in the Addison County Independent – August 2, 2012
Who Will This Feed? Local Grain and Oil Production in Vermont, by Elizabeth Ferry in Local Banquet – Spring 2009
Farm Fresh Fuel, by Joshua Brown – March 7, 2007
2014 Oilseed Producers Workshop
- Chris Callahan’s presentation on economic viability of oilseed crops (pdf)
- Hannah Harwood and Chris Callahan’s final results of the small-scale press evaluations (pdf)
- Small-scale press evaluation report (pdf)
- Small-scale press design video (YouTube)
- Heather Darby’s presentation on 2013 research updates and uses for oilseed meal (pdf)
- Ryan Elias’s presentation on culinary oil quality (pdf)
- Chris Callahan and Hannah Harwood’s preliminary results of small-scale oilseed press design evaluations (pdf)
- Sabrina Greenwood’s presentation on feeding oilseed meal to livestock (pdf)
- Alan Eaton’s presentation on bird management in oilseed crops (YouTube video)
2012 Oilseed Producers Meeting
Oilseed Cost and Profit Calculator designed by Chris at Callahan Engineering, PLLC and downloadable for free
Oil Crops Outlook from the USDA
Mobile biodiesel trailer designed by the nonprofit GreenStart, based in NH
- TRT ETGO Oilseed Crushing Plant (pdf, Etienne Tardif)
- Running the Tractor on SVO and Biodiesel from Oil Crops (pdf, Douglas Schaufler)
- Canola Research Update 2011 (pdf, Heather Karsten)
New England On-Farm Energy Conference 2010 Manchester, NH
Contact information for conference speakers can be found in their individual presentations
- Assessing On-Farm Energy Options, Mike Morris, NCAT/ATTRA
- Best Agronomic Management for Canola and Sunflower Crops, Heather Darby, UVM Extension
- Oilseed Production Results in New England, Nell Campbell, Carbon Dynamics LLC
- Bioenergy Crops, Masoud Hashemi, UMASS
- Innovative Systems for Harvesting and Pressing Oilseeds, Roger Rainville, Borderview Farm, Alburgh, VT
- Oilseed Growth and Pressing at Penn State, Doug Schaufler, Penn State
- Pressing Soybeans at Rainbow Valley Farm Biodiesel, Mark Mordasky, Rainbow Valley Farm, Orwell, VT
- On-Farm Biodiesel Safety and Quality, Chris Callahan, Callahan Engineering, Cambridge, NY
- Safety and Quality at Stateline Biofuels, John Williamson, Stateline Farm, Shaftsbury, VT
- Drying and Storing Your Seed Crop, Paul Boivin, Vermont Golden Harvest Biofuels, Addison, VT
- Fats and Oils Quality, Characteristics, Extraction, and Refining Overview Ralph Turner, PE, Laughingstock Farm, Freeport, ME
- Operating Farm Equipment on Bio-Based Oil and Fuels, Doug Schaufler, PE, Penn State
- NH Scale Food & Fuel Production System, Dorn Cox, Tuckaway Farm, Lee, NH
- Greenhouse Track Presentations on the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Page
Sunflowers for Biofuel Production- A link to eXtension webpage with information on sunflowers current potential for use as a biofuel, biology/ adaptation, production, pest management, harvest and storage, and production yields. Contributors include Vern Grubinger, UVM Extension Vegetable and Berry Specialist and our own team members Heather Darby, UVM Extension Agronomist and Philip Halteman, former Northwest Crops and Soils Technician.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Projects - Includes helpful information about oilseed production in Vermont, as well as grower profiles, descriptions of ongoing research projects, and resources for interested growers and processors.
National Sunflower Association: Growers – A link to a series of videos done by John Smith of the Univ. of Nebraska about improving plant spacing. Valuable information about eliminating skips and doubles and about performance of various seed plates and finger pickups.
North Dakota State University: Row Crops and Oilseeds – A link to a series of agronomic information from sunflowers to canola under the direction of Hans Kandel NDSU Extension Agronomist.
Sunflower Planting Guidelines – for different planter models, from the University of Nebraska Research & Extension Center
Developing a versatile harvesting tool (small-scale swather) for oilseed production:
Click here to view YouTube video.
Ryan Elias on rancidity in food-grade oils (2014 Oilseed Producers Workshop):
Ryan Elias on refining food-grade oils by bleaching and degumming (2014 Oilseed Producers Workshop):
Ryan Elias on identifying and quantifying rancidity in food-grade oils (2014 Oilseed Producers Workshop):
Evaluations of six different small-scale presses used for cold-pressing oilseeds (UVM Extension and Penn State Extension SARE Project):
Timelapse photography of a soybean and sunflower field over the course of the 2011 growing season:
Dr. Heather Darby of the University of Vermont Extension describes some of the agronomic aspects of oilseed production in the Northeast, as well as describing our research:
VPT’s Emerging Science- Episode 2: Ecological Economics Several scientists from the University of Vermont and University of Vermont Extension, including our own Heather Darby, discuss Ecological Economics and how it relates to growing biofuels in Vermont. Funding for the broadcast was provided by EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). This program supports science and engineering at Vermont colleges and businesses to encourage young Vermonters to seek careers in science.