Integrating sunflower oil seed crops into Florida horticultural production systems

Dan O. Chellemi, Randall Von Wedel, William W. Turechek, Scott Adkins


Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) hybrids, grown as rotation crops in commercial tomato production fields, were investigated for their potential as a biodiesel feedstock. Large, replicated 0.27-ha (0.68 acre) blocks were cultivated to approximate commercial production conditions. Yields of a dwarf hybrid ranged from 1921 to 2008 kg·ha–1 (1715–1791 lb/acre) and were higher than the traditional taller hybrids. Seed oil content ranged from 45.0% to 46.9%. Using a combination of mechanical and chemical expelling, oil recovery from dwarf hybrid seeds ranged from 35.7% to 39.7% and generated oil yields of 746 to 869 L·ha–1 (80–92 gal/acre). Between 1106 to 1142 kg·ha–1 (987–1019 lb/acre) of high nutritional quality sunflower meal was obtained from the oil expelling process. Several key pests were observed that limit applications for sunflower as a beneficial rotation crop for Florida vegetable producers including root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) and sclerotinia head rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Lib. De Bary). Biodiesel produced from crude, decanted sunflower oil was high in quality and passed all American Society for Testing and Materials standards except the Oxidation Stability Index, demonstrating that sunflower rotation crops grown as feedstock for biodiesel production can provide additional revenue to Florida farmers while enhancing sources of traditional food production.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283