Oilseed Farm-to-Market Demonstration
The project objectives are to use the direct seed system as the base farming technique and to work with the participating producers to grow oilseed crops; evaluate the benefits to other crops by having oilseeds in the rotation; monitor pest and weed control; and then to evaluate with the producer the economics of by-product marketing (oil and meal) versus the seed sale. A portable farm-scale oilseed crusher is part of the project to assist with the crushing of the participant’s oilseed to create the by-products, oil and meal, for market.
(To work with five producers using the direct seed system in three different rainfall zones with an oilseed crop (up to 20 acres) to compare to fallow or peas.)
Five producers for the project were identified; they use the direct seed system and are experienced with growing an oilseed crop in rotation; and they are located in various rainfall zones. Tom Conrad (20” rainfall) seeded spring canola (Glyphosate Resistant canola) and Del and Steve Teade (19” rainfall) seeded spring canola (Hyola 37 canola); Mike Stubbs (15” rainfall) seeded winter canola and Ron Kile (18” rainfall) seeded a winter canola variety named Gem; and Mike Goyke replaced Rick Morgan who resigned from the grant for personal reasons.
(To determine the proper variety of canola or mustard to be grown successfully in the Palouse Region. To meet with participating producers to determine what variety they have interest in growing and the locations and rotation they will be using, along with setting up a timeline for the producers and grant needs.)
The initial growers meeting was used to review the grant’s objectives; set-up a timeline; determine where the 20-acre field was located for each individual; discuss any questions and/or concerns; and discuss the crushing and marketing of the products. The producers were then worked with on a one-on-one basis. Dennis Roe met with the participants to assist in determining the 20-acre field location, record the canola varieties being used (Glyphosate Resistant canola, Hyola 37 canola, winter canola and Gem canola), and rotations; soil samples were taken in each canola field to determine moisture and nutrient levels.
(To purchase a portable farm scale farm crushing machine, constructed on a trailer, to complete the on-site oilseed crushing for market. The demonstration will crush the oilseed, creating two by-products for market, oil and meal.)
Initial research on the variety of oil seed expellers (crushers), makes and models was completed prior to grant submission; it had been determined to pursue the KOMET Oil Seed Expeller due to its durability, reliability and cost. Kimberly Morse and Dennis Roe met with Peter Mathis, EPM Distributing LLC, Germany when he was stateside to discuss the KOMET crusher, its components, requirements and purchase process. The crusher arrived stateside on June 30th.
The crusher was received as a three-phase 440v, which was converted by using an inverter to single-phase 240v to accommodate the on-farm shops.
A trailer was purchased and crusher frame built; additional fabrication included an on-trailer seed bin, auger, seed oil drain pan, and meal bin.
(To complete a three-year cycle of the oilseed crop growing conditions within the direct seed system; crop benefits in the rotation; and address pest and weed control. A minimum of five farm visits by the technical staff will be completed to assess the crop.)
This is the first of a planned three-year crop rotation. The spring canola was harvested in August 2006 (20 acres each). Del and Steve Teade’s canola seed was crushed and sold in November 2006 as livestock meal and fuel oil. Their seed weighed in at about 9 tons producing approximately 600 gallons of oil and 5-6 tons of meal. Tom Conrad’s is currently being crushed.
The Stubbs’ winter canola grew to the rosette stage (3-4 leaf) prior to cold weather which is beneficial to winter survival. As a test trial, Ron Kile planted winter canola on crop ground that had a known chemical residual; the canola failed due to the chemical carry-over in the soil.
(To complete a three-year market analysis of the oilseed by-products, oil and meal, compared to the straight sell of the whole uncrushed seed showing hot to add value to a farm commodity.)
We are in the preliminary stages of the financial aspects of the project; the figures for the market analysis are still being compiled.
(To assist in the marketing of the oilseed by-products, oil and meal.)
This project received much publicity locally and through the demonstration at the Palouse Empire Fair in September. Several individuals made contact with the participants for the purchase of both the oil and meal. There since have been additional inquiries and a sales list created for future years.
(To provide user friendly forums of information / education and outreach programs, such as tours, shop talks, meetings, news articles, reports and brochure.)
Information about this project was being distributed very early in the program. The Whitman County Commissioners, The Port of Whitman, and the Washington Canola-Rapeseed Commission were all contacted and on-board as being participants, each providing the needed cash match.
The local newspaper, Whitman County Gazette did several articles on the project.
The first outreach program for the crusher was a demonstration at was the Palouse Empire Fair in September. There were five demonstration times over four days with approximately 100 in attendance overall. An informational brochure was created and distributed explaining the project and providing contact information.
The Districts webpage (http://whitmancd.scc.wa.gov) has the project highlighted, and the District’s newsletter, The Steward, also has provided information on the project.
Accomplishments/Milestones: what work has been accomplished to date and what work is left to do?
The project accomplishments include:
Secured five producers for the grant who direct seed with an oilseed in the rotation, located in various rainfall zones; worked with them on the rotation they use along with the equipment, seeding rates, varieties, and taking soil samples.
Purchased the oil seed expeller (crusher) and had it set-up on a trailer for portability between farms and for outreach demonstrations.
Began outreach activities to include cash partnerships, newspaper articles, newsletter articles, webpage display, and demonstrations at the local fair.
Successfully crushed this year’s oilseed crop.
Successfully sold both by-products, meal and oil.
The project to-do list:
Complete the remaining two years of the grant analyzing data collected on the soil samples, crop yields, rotation benefits, financial analysis of the sale of by-products.
Continue to assist the participants with on-farm research.
Continue to assist in the crushing and marketing of the oilseed crop.
Continue with the outreach activities.
Work with the local newspaper to list the market price of canola in each weekly edition along with the regular list of prices for wheat, barley, and peas.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Impact and Contributions/Outcomes: how does this demonstration benefit producers or consumers in the Western Region?
This demonstration project will benefit both the producer and the consumers. For producers, the project will demonstrate the positives in having an oilseed crop in their rotation such as better weed control and yield potential; less fuel is used in the direct seeding system; and it will provide a secondary market for the oilseed by-product sales, assisting economically. For the consumer, increased oilseed acres will allow for easier availability for biodiesel allowing for a cleaner fuel to be used in the environment; and provide a local source for livestock producers wishing to use oilseed meal for feed.
At the first location, the crusher was operated from November 4 through December 14, 2006, for cooperators Del and Steve Teade. Eight neighboring producers stopped by to see the crusher operating. The producer who was operating the crusher has already planned a corner in his farm shop to place his own crusher, if he continues to pursue purchasing one. One of the neighbors has already created biodiesel as a result of the project. The estimated acreage of land farmed by those visiting is 16,000 acres, of which 3,100 acres of canola could be seeded.
At the second location, the crusher has been operating since December 18, 2006. There have been five producers/ranchers visit to see it in operation. Their main interest was use of the canola meal for livestock feed. Two neighboring producers are purchasing all of the estimated 12 tons of meal from this crushing. The estimated acreage of the land farmed by those visiting is 11,000 acres, of which 2600 acres of canola could be seeded.
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