Researchers at the University of York, UK, have launched a website aimed at teaching farmers about the commercial benefits of growing non-food oil crops.
Researchers at the University of York, UK, have launched a website aimed at teaching farmers about the commercial benefits of growing non-food oil crops. The Oilcrop website, developed at the University’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, was funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and comes with the support of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
The service provides information on oil crops that can be grown in the UK, together with data on the different oils and their uses and even a guide to ’on-farm’ oilseed processing. Currently nearly all non-food oil crops are taken off site to large scale processing plants, but this is not always necessary, say members of the York team and industrial collaborators at Springdale Crop Synergies, Bridlington, UK. ’There is a wealth of opportunity out there for farmers if they can take their crops one step further’, says Springdale’s technical coordinator Jacqueline Garrood.
Non-food oil crops are laden with an extensive range of potential applications. Oils produced by, for example, rape, crambe and camelina, could turn up in rubber additives, bases for paints and coatings, and even in diesel engines. ’The future of agriculture will be as an energy provider,’ said an NFU spokesman.