Learn to Grow Oil Crops
Broaden the range of crops in commercial farm planting
Diversify a source of farm income
Expand your knowledge and awareness of farm crop production as a supplier of services or goods to farms
Products grown using oil crops can be used for a variety of purposes including food and edible products, biofuels, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products and much more. 

Who is this course for?
A farmer planning to diversify income streams
Farm or land workers seeking to upskill
Anyone new to the industry - on or off farm
Investors, service providers, consultants, students or anyone else with an interest in learning more about growing oil crops

There are 9 lessons in this course:

1. Nature & scope of oil crops
What are plant oils?
Essential oils
Plant oil crops & uses
Vegetable oil uses
Essential oil uses
Economic value of oil crops
What crops can be grown where?


2. Oil extraction
Oil seed processing
Mechanical processing
Chemical processing
Other processing methods
Simple distillation
Steam distillation
Fractional distillation
Vacuum distillation
Molecular distillation
Extractive distillation
Membrane distillation


3. Canola and rapeseed

Characteristics of canola
World production
Growing canola
Using seed
Soil types
Soil preparation
Growth stages
Environmental stresses
Irrigation management
Pest control

4. Olive oil
Characteristics of olive oil
World production
Growing olives
Using seedlings
Soil types
Soil preparation
Growing conditions
Irrigation management
Pest control
Organic production


5. Other edible oils
Growing conditions
Organic matter
Soil texture
Subsoil PH
Soil water available to plants
Slope of the topography
Natural soil drainage
Maintaining good soil structure
Growing edible oil crops
Sunflowers (helianthus annuus)
Flax/linseed (linum usitatissimum)
Soybean/soya bean (glycine max)
Peanuts (arachis hypogaea)


6. Herbal and pharmaceutical oils
Pros and cons of herbal medicine & nutraceuticals
Essential oils
General guidelines for growing herbs for essential oils
Improved herbs and essential oils
Growing select crops for cosmetic or pharmaceutical oils
Avocado (persea americana)
Mint (mentha arvensis)
Tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia)
Blackcurrant (ribes nigrum)
Passionfruit (passiflora edulis)


7. Biofuel and other industrial oils
Biofuel production
Vegetable oils and genetic modification
Extraction of oils from plants
GMO crops
Oleic acid
Oil palm trees
Novel fatty acids
Chemical and biotechnological transformations of basic industrial oils
Key targets for future industrial oil crops
Unusual fatty acids
Industrial importance
Growing select crops for biofuels and other industrial uses
Poppy (papaver somniferum)
Castor bean (ricinus communis)
Camelina (camelina sativa)
Crambe (crambe abyssinica)

8. Issues, Risks, Optimising success
Successful farming
Risk management
Entrepreneurial skills of farmers
Production management
Developing a farming business plan
Goals and mission
Asset planning
Irrigation water
Farm management
Labour and machinery
Soil testing
Produce selection
Integrated pest management
Integrated weed management
Grain storage


9. Product development and management
Oilseed production and extraction yields
Oil fatty acid composition and biodiesel
Oil extraction and biodiesel processing
On-farm oil seed processing

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Learning Objectives of this course:

Discuss the scope and nature of farming plants to produce oils or oil rich products.
Explain how oils can be extracted from plants.
Explain how to farm canola and rapeseed.
Explain how to farm olives for oil production.
Discuss agronomic farming and production of other edible oils for human and animal consumption.
Discuss agronomic farming and production of a range of oils for cosmetic and medicinal use
Discuss agronomic farming and production of plant oils for industrial and biofuel applications
Analyse issues that impact success or failure of a plant oil production enterprise
Formulate a plan for development and management of a plant oil production enterprise.

Choosing What To Grow and How to Grow It
Farming an oil crop can be profitable, but only if you make the right choices about what to grow, when, where and how to grow it.

The viability of farming as a business depends upon making those choices; and undertaking this course can make a significant difference to making better choices.

When considering growing any crop for plant oils, it is important to consider costs of production and processing. You might be considering integrating oil crops into an existing farm growing system by way of crop rotations, or perhaps changing direction towards growing only oilseed crops. Maybe you have plans to start a new oilseed farm or you are a farm manager looking at new opportunities. Whatever the situation, having a good idea about costs is necessary to minimise risks and make wise decisions.  

Learn to evaluate costs and returns from feedstock production, oilseed crushing, and biodiesel processing. The potential of oilseed feedstocks: canola, flax, camelina, yellow mustard, sunflower, and safflower will be assessed for productivity, production costs and revenues.  

Consider the cost of production, yield, technical parameters, and market prices.  Consider external factors such as social costs and trends such as changing political, financial and legal factors. Biofuel production for example only achieves economic feasibility when the social cost is included in analysis.  A central motivation for government biofuel policy is reducing the dependence on fossil fuels, by shifting to renewable energy sources.