Sunflower varieties fall into two major categories: oilseed and confectionery. Oilseed sunflower is the most popular biodiesel feedstock grown in Vermont. This crop is grown in rotation with other grains and grasses, is very attractive in the Vermont landscape, and yields high quantities of oil. The seeds are pressed to extract the oil, which can be used for food or further refined into biodiesel for use as fuel, and the leftover seed meal can be used for animal feed or land treatment. There are at least 16 farms growing oilseeds for biodiesel in Vermont. Expansion of this effort depends on improving yields with on-going agronomic support, increasing the availability of combines and other agricultural equipment and developing performance specifications for pressing and biodiesel refining equipment. The profiles, publications, and links to the right and image gallery below provide more information on the work being done in Vermont and nationally to expand the use of sunflowers for biodiesel production.
Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension, Oilseed Production in the Northeast. 2013. UVM Extension, National Sunflower Survey (Includes Vermont Data), 2013. Sunflower Insects: Scouting and Identification, University of Vermont Extension
Seed Preparation and Storage
Oilseed Factsheet: Seed Storage and Cleaning, University of Vermont Extension
A Feasibility Analysis of a Mobile Unit for Processing Oilseed Crops and Producing Biodiesel in Vermont.December 2008
Feasibility Analysis: Solar Seed Dryer and Storage Bin at State Line Farm, N. Bennington, VT. October 2008
Chris Callahan, Oilseed Cost and Profit Calculator. (A downloadable modeling tool) Chris Callahan and Netaka White, Vermont On-Farm Oilseed Enterprises: Production Capacity and Break-even Economics. July 2013. Emily Stebbins, The Market Potential of Farm-Scale Oilseed Crop Products in Vermont.February 2008. (See also the Executive Summary)
Oilseed & Meal Analysis
Rock River Laboratory, Sunflower Meal Feed Analysis Report. April 2009. Rock River Laboratory, Whole Sunflower Feed Analysis Report. May 2011. Dairy One, Sunflower Meal Test – Cleaned. October 2010. Dairy One, Sunflower Meal Test – Uncleaned. October 2010.
Sunflower – Alternative Field Crops Manual, Purdue University Sunflower – Overview, Markets and How To Grow, Jefferson Institute
Sunflower Oil, Seed & Meal
Sunflower as a Feed, National Sunflower Association Sunflower Oil, National Sunflower Association
Conferences and Events
Oilseed Producers Workshop Proceedings, University of Vermont Sunflower Seminars and Workshops, National Sunflower Association