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Growing markets bring potential for rubber and oilseed crops
Date:2/1/2008

to treat wood, and the leftover pulp can be used for composite boards and as an energy source, i.e. fire logs, briquettes and fuel pellets.

Lesquerella, the other crop Foster is working with, has potential as an industrial oilseed crop, he said. It also is found in Mexico and the Trans Pecos, but can be found growing as far north as Kansas.

The cool season perennial produces oil similar to that of castor, he said. All U.S. castor oil is imported.

The plant produces yellow flowers that develop into capsules containing numerous small, flat seeds. One million seeds weigh only 20 ounces, Foster said.

The seeds can be crushed to produce oil that could be used as the base-stock to improve viscosity of 2-cycle engine oil, motor oil and hydraulic fluid, he said. It also can be used in biodegradable gear oil with off-shore drilling applications, and it has potential as a biodiesel/biofuel additive.

We certainly see this can be a potential new crop for the Trans Pecos and High Plains regions, Foster said.

He said he is working with a research group at Pecos and Halfway research stations. The first planting at Halfway in 2006 had a weed problem and they were not able to harvest. A second crop was planted in 2007 and will be harvested this spring.

Foster said once the viability of the crops is determined, the acceptance of them as an alternative crop will depend on the ability to get them processed and to a market with a reasonable profit.


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Contact: Dr. Mike Foster
mfoster@ag.tamu.edu
432-445-5050
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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