- Agronomic: canola, rapeseed, wheat
- Animal Production: feed additives
- Crop Production: continuous cropping, no-till, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: marketing management, market study, value added
- Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management, weather monitoring
- Soil Management: soil analysis, organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, employment opportunities
Oilseed Farm-to-Market Demonstration objectives were to increase awareness of the benefits of oilseed crops within a rotation (agronomics); and to increase general information on the value-added opportunities in oilseed crops (economics).
After researching various oil seed expellers (crushers) the KOMET Oil Seed Expeller from Germany was chosen due to its durability, reliability and cost, arriving June 30, 2006. The crusher was received as a three-phase 480v, which was converted by using an inverter to single-phase 240v to accommodate farm shops. A trailer was purchased and crusher frame built with additional fabrication including an on-trailer seed bin, auger, and seed oil drain pan.
The initial participants meeting was used to review the project’s objectives; set up time lines for soil sampling and crushing; determine acres and oilseed variety; questions and answers; discuss the space needs of the crusher and process; and marketing of the by-products. Five producers with experience growing oilseed crops in a direct seed system were selected using their farms as demonstration sites: Tom Conrad, 21” rainfall zone; Del and Steve Teade, 19” rainfall zone; Mike Stubbs, 15” rainfall zone; Ron Kile, 17” rainfall zone; and Mike Goyke, 19” rainfall zone.
Soil sampling was completed both in the spring and fall to monitor moisture usage since canola and mustard use high amounts of moisture; and the nitrogen levels of the crop ground were tracked throughout the farm rotation. Organic matter measured an increase of less than 1% between the first year and final year.
In the first year the crusher was housed at two locations, Mark Halls and Rhod McIntoshs, with crushing at Rhod’s shop for the remainder of the project years. The seed was not cleaned other than regular combine adjustments made during harvest for the crop. The crusher was set-up on a 12-hour rotation for filling the seed bin from the field truck, and changing the meal bag and barrels of oil with the crusher running continuously. Minor obstacles encountered included typical inconveniences from winter temperatures and road closures to technical issues such as photocell adjustments and challenges with heater rings. Following is a summary of each producer’s experience.
The Tom Conrad Farm is located south of Colfax in the Onecho area (S10/11, T15N, R43E), the dominate soil is a Palouse Silt Loam. Cropping is a three-year rotation of canola (Roundup Ready 357), winter wheat, and spring barley in an annual rainfall zone of 21”. His tillage operation is a two-pass system using a 5500 CIH double-disc minimum till drill for seeding and a 5850 CIH chisel with ¾” shank at 12” spacing for fertilizing. He averages 400 acres of canola annually with a seeding rate of 3-4 pounds, averaging a yield of 1,766 pounds per acre. Overall, Tom reported that he uses less pesticide with the canola being in the rotation but that volunteer canola can be a problem in the winter wheat crop that follows.
The first year resulted in 13,435 pounds of canola seed being crushed, resulting in 23 days of crushing. This produced 4 tons of meal and 520 gallons of oil. There were two full days that the crusher was down due to the material. The oil was sold locally to individual producers at $2.65 per gallon and the meal at $150 per ton resulting in a combined average of $0.1575 cents per pound. In 2006, the contract seed market price averaged $0.15 cents per pound, up from the contract price of $0.10 cents per pound in 2005.
The second year resulted in 13,985 pounds of canola seed being crushed, resulting in 20 days of crushing. This produced 4.5 tons of meal and 530 gallons of oil. During Tom’s use, the crusher was serviced with a new sensor and had three ‘jams’ due to the amount of ‘trash’ that shut the machine down for three days. The crusher was run at a slower speed half the time in an attempt to discourage bridging. The oil was sold to Natural Selection, an operation that is making biofuel for the individual farm, at a price of $0.38 cents per pound; the meal was sold to Rhod McIntosh as a livestock feed additive (protein supplement) at a price of $200 per ton for a combined average of $0.16 cents per pound. In 2007, the contract seed market price increased to an average of $0.18 cents per pound.
Tom was the only participant to crush in the third and final year. The third year resulted in 13,630 pounds of canola seed being crushed, resulting in 16 days of crushing. This produced 4.7 tons of meal and 525 gallons of oil. The process went rather well with only one partial day of shut down because of the auger jamming with too much chaff. The oil was sold to Steve Camps, a local producer, for a price of $0.31 cents per pound with the meal being sold at $225 per ton again to Rhod McIntosh for a combined average of $0.165 cents per pound. In 2008, the contract seed market price increased to an average of $0.25 cents per pound.
The Del and Steve Teade Farm is located west of Colfax in the Wilcox area (S35/36, T16N, R42E), the dominate soils are Palouse Thatuna and Snow Silt Loam. Cropping is a two-year rotation of an oilseed (canola-hoya 37 or yellow mustard), and winter wheat in an annual rainfall zone of 19”. Their tillage operation is a one-pass system using a AgPro no-till drill for seeding and fertilizing with coulter and shank at 12” spacing. They average 200 acres of an oilseed annually with a seeding rate of 6-7 pounds, averaging a yield of 1,000 pounds per acre (mustard). Overall, Del and Steve reported that there is no weed control available for mustard so there is some increase in weed population during the mustard crop. When compared to a winter wheat crop following chemical fallow, they felt the weed population was comparable. They reported that their winter wheat crops following an oilseed have been up on average 15 bushels per acre over winter wheat following a spring grain with chemical usage remaining the same.
The first year resulted in 16,000 pounds of canola seed being crushed, resulting in 25 days of crushing. This produced 5.5 tons of meal and 600 gallons of oil. The Teade’s were the first to use the crusher in a shop situation which resulted in a lengthier crush time to get the system running consistently. The oil was sold locally to individual producers; the meal was sold to Rhod McIntosh as livestock feed additive (protein supplement). The oil was sold at $2.65 per gallon and the meal at $150 per ton resulting in a combined average of $0.1575 cents per pound. In 2006, the contract seed market price averaged $0.15 cents per pound, up from the contract price of $0.10 cents per pound in 2005.
The second year, the Teade’s grew mustard and opted out of crushing due to the high contract price of $0.18 cents per pound. With no market available for the mustard meal, the oil sale would not have compared to the market price per acre.
In the third year, the Teade’s again grew mustard and opted out of crushing due to the high contract price of $0.25 cents per pound. Again, with no market for the mustard meal, the oil sale would not have compared to the market price per acre.
The Mike Stubbs Farm is located west of Colfax in the Dusty area (S12, T15N, R40E), the dominate soil is Walla Walla Silt Loam. Cropping in an annual rainfall zone of 15” is with two three-year rotation options depending on the variety of oilseed he seeds: winter canola (non-GMO), chemical fallow, and winter wheat; or oriental mustard, winter wheat, and spring wheat. His tillage operation is a one-pass system using a AgPro 2815 no-till drill for seeding and fertilizing using either a hoe opener at 15” spacing (mustard crop) or a double-disc at 30” spacing (canola crop). He averages 300-400 acres of an oilseed crop annually with seeding rates as follows: yellow mustard, 5-6 pounds per acre; oriental mustard, 4-5 pounds per acre; winter canola, 2-3.5 pounds per acre. The yields averaged between 1,100 and 1,400 pounds per acre. Overall, Mike reported that china lettuce is a big problem in the mustard crop which is equivalent to the problem in chemical fallow, but that there was no change in chemical treatment for the crop following.
Mike’s winter canola was crushed in the second year of the project. It resulted in 14,320 pounds of canola seed to be crushed which resulted in 12 days of crushing. This produced 4.8 tons of meal and 550 gallons of oil. The oil was sold to Natural Selection, an operation that is making biofuel for the individual farm, at a price of $0.38 cents per pound; the meal was sold as livestock feed to a livestock operator in the area at a price of $200 per ton for a combined average of $0.16 cents per pound. In 2007, the contract seed market price increased to an average of $0.18 cents per pound.
In the third year, Mike grew mustard and opted out of crushing due to the high contract price of $0.25 cents per pound. With no market available for the mustard meal, the oil sale would not have compared to the market price per acre.
The Ron Kile Farm is located north of Colfax in the Pine City area (S28, T20N, R42E), the dominate soil is Palouse Silt Loam. Cropping is a three-year rotation of mustard (GEM), winter wheat, spring barley rotation in an annual rainfall zone of 17”. His tillage operation is a CIH toolbar with a hoe opener at 15” spacing.
As a trial for the first year, Ron planted winter canola on crop ground that had a known chemical residual; the canola crop failed due to the chemical carry-over in the soil.
In the second year, he grew mustard on a 4-acre flat in its last year of chemical plant-back restrictions; which produced a low yielding crop with a percentage of hollow seeds. The crusher was moved on-farm to his shop with approximately 5,000 lbs of seed. Crushing was done in 9 days of in-consistent operation. The mustard was very ‘trashy’ but also contained a lot of dust which filled the oil augers causing them to ‘jam’ and shut the crusher off. It was determined after researching the situation, that it would be cost prohibitive to have the small amount of mustard seed cleaned professionally; a screen was fitted over the seed bin to act as a ‘sifter’ to assist in the removal of the ‘trash’ but did not address the dust issue. The augers, heaters, and dyes were all adjusted and changed in an attempt to remedy the dust situation. With the overnight temperatures starting to fall below freezing, the seed temperature had become an issue. Along with the attachment of heating lamps to the seed bin of the crusher, an old manual seed cleaner had been located to address the dust issue. Both activities seemed to remedy the situation until the breaker switch on the crusher began to trip-out. By adding a heat lamp over the breaker box, Ron was able to run the crusher on a 24-hour basis to finish his project. The mustard produced an estimated 1.25 ton of meal and an estimated 100 gallons of oil which was sold locally at a price of $0.35 cents per pound. There is no market available for the meal.
Ron opted out of growing an oilseed in the third year due to the chemical plant back restrictions and the high market price of cereal grains.
Mike Goyke joined the project in the second year as a replacement for Rick Morgan. His farm is located north of Colfax in the Thornton area (S32, T20N, R43E), the dominate soil is of Palouse Silt Loam. Cropping is a three-year rotation of canola (Glyphosate Resistant), winter wheat and spring barley in an annual rainfall zone of 19”. He stated that he has been working with more of a minimum tillage operation and only seeds canola if the market price is up. The crusher was moved on-farm to his shop with approximately 10,000 lbs of seed crushing resulting in 9 days of in-consistent operation. The operation did not run 24-hours due to ‘trash’ shutting the crusher off. A new situation occurred when the machine would carry the seed through without producing oil or meal. This situation happened several times after the machine shut itself down which was remedied by switching the auger size. A screen was fitted over the seed bin to act as a ‘sifter’ to assist in the removal of the ‘trash’ and worked well but added additional time and the need for two people when refilling the seed bin from the field truck. This produced an estimated 3 ton of meal and an estimated 250 gallons of oil. He did not provide market numbers.
In the third year, Mike made the decision not to grow canola due the high market price of cereal grains.
There is an additional by-product referred to as ‘sludge’ that is left in the bottom of the oil barrels from settling solids. The settling typically takes five days before the oil can be pumped into a separate container for sale. This wet, soupy meal contains the same protein and omega-3 benefits of the dry material and has been used over hay as feed supplement for livestock. At this time, no market value has been placed on the sludge. Cattle feeders had shown a lot of interest in this by-product.
Feed and Forage reports were completed on the canola meal. Four categories looked at were fat, omega 3, omega 6 and protein with the numbers from the multiple reports averaged to reveal the following: fat 16.15%, omega 3 7.07%, omega 6 19.10%, and protein 33.37%. Speed variations were experimented with but yielded no substantial change in the outcome of the testing.
The local Universities are pursuing the mustard meal as a soil amendment to be used as a natural weed and pest control treatment.