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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Alternatives to methyl bromide soil fumigation for vegetable and floriculture production Title: Integrating Sunflower Oil Seed Crops into Florida Horticultural Production Systems

Authors
item Chellemi, Daniel
item Von Wedel, Randall -
item Adkins, Scott
item Turechek, William

Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2010
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Citation: Chellemi, D.O., Von Wedel, R., Adkins, S.T., Turechek, W. 2010. Integrating Sunflower Oil Seed Crops into Florida Horticultural Production Systems. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 122:289-294.

Interpretive Summary: Sunflower offers a promising cover and rotation crop for Florida row crop farming as a means of reducing pest pressures and improving soil fertility. As an oil seed, the sunflower serves as an excellent feedstock for producing biodiesel in Florida. Results from this study indicate the sunflower oil can yield high quality biodiesel meeting ASTM D-6751 specifications as long as the oxidation of the seed and oil is controlled. The seed meal is high in protein and would serve as a good supplement for feeding dairy cattle. In the current study, the agronomics and yield data suggest sunflower could benefit Treasure Coast farmers generate a small additional revenue stream while providing improvements to their current farming practices. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) hybrids were grown in commercial tomato production fields as cover crop and the outcome of several crops are presented as a model for the integration of biodiesel feedstock into Florida horticultural production systems. Yields were in the range of yields reported for traditional sunflower varieties grown in Gainesville, FL and several locations in Mississippi. Yields were consistent between the fall 2007 and the spring 2008 planting The meal was shown to be a high quality nutritional supplement for livestock based upon high contents of digestible protein, crude fat and total digestible nutrients. With the exception of oxidation stability, the biodiesel generated from the crude, decanted sunflower oil passed the most critical test parameters of ASTM D-6751 that define biodiesel blending stock. Oxidation stability of the sunflower biodiesel proved to be a problem with these initial test batches. Sunflower budget projections and breakeven costs were estimated at several production scales for a yield of 2016 kg ha-1 (1,800 lbs acre-1) with a net return of 869 L ha-1 (93 gal acre-1).

Technical Abstract: Locally produced biodiesel feedstock plant oil creates a unique possibility to integrate multiple-goal oriented cover crops into Florida horticultural production systems. Typically, cover crops are planted to improve soil fertility and the natural suppression of soilborne pests at times when fields are typically maintained in a weed or bare-ground fallow status (production goals). Cover crops grown as feedstock for biodiesel production provide additional revenue to growers achieving an economic goal and sources of renewable energy that do not compete with food production achieving environmental and social goals. Successful integration of biodiesel feedstock oil seed crops into Florida horticultural production will require consideration of their agronomic potential and constraints, their susceptibility to local and exotic plant pests, input requirements for crop production and resource consumption, proximity to seed crushing and biodiesel conversion facilities, oil quality (composition, stability and transportability) and the specific market demands of potential biodiesel consumers. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) hybrids were grown in commercial tomato production fields as cover crop and the outcome of several crops are presented as a model for the integration of biodiesel feedstock into Florida horticultural production systems. Yields were in the range of yields reported for traditional sunflower varieties grown in Gainesville, FL and several locations in Mississippi. Yields were consistent between the fall 2007 and the spring 2008 planting The meal was shown to be a high quality nutritional supplement for livestock based upon high contents of digestible protein, crude fat and total digestible nutrients. With the exception of oxidation stability, the biodiesel generated from the crude, decanted sunflower oil passed the most critical test parameters of ASTM D-6751 that define biodiesel blending stock. Oxidation stability of the sunflower biodiesel proved to be a problem with these initial test batches. Sunflower budget projections and breakeven costs were estimated at several production scales for a yield of 2016 kg ha-1 (1,800 lbs acre-1) with a net return of 869 L ha-1 (93 gal acre-1).

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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