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What a long strange trip it has been. On our family farm we got into farm raised energy by burning grain to heat a barn. I met someone that worked for a boiler manufacture. This person was starting to import oilseed presses. Without knowing how much work that simple oilseed press would create we took the plunge into oilseed pressing.
We grew soybeans to feed our own dairy cows and the plan was to process beans. That worked fine but the oilseed "gold standard" turned out to be canola. I had never seen canola. Well we had most of the equipment needed to grow canola. We planted 20 acres the first year.
Everything you do starts a chain reaction. Buy a press,install motor on press, build a pre-heater, install grain bin, build conveyer and bin to handle press cake and on and on. Still more to do.
I did have some good help and good luck with this project. And my dad and brothers allow me to get in deeper and deeper and never once complained. At last we have biodiesel. My book title will be "It sounded like a good idea at the time".










 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow ! Quite the set up. Now instead of canola look at mustard, same brasica family, same cold flow properties.
Benefit of mustard over canola is found in the mulch; those soy bean fields will yield better if rotated with the mustard or you can simply use the mustard mulch incorporated into the compost for the soy fileds as it is a natural pesticide suitable for organic farming.
Do not mix canola with mustard though; although members of the same family they do not get along at all in the same growing area.
*The above information has been gleaned from various texts and is not the result of first hand experience, so the caveat is yours*



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Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We use the canola and soy press cake for feed. 1.5 lbs. of canola cake equals 1 lb. of soybean cake. We were able to grow a corn crop after the canloa was harvested in late spring. This fall we planted 75 acres of canola that will harvested in the spring. We plan to double crop beans after canola to get two oil crops from the same ground in one growing season. I have been told that canola should be in a three year rotation.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What kind of oil yeild are you getting per acre?
 
Location: West Michigan | Registered: April 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nuther question, do you have any idea yet on what you actual cost per gallon of oil is? And are you degumming?
 
Location: West Michigan | Registered: April 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here are some round numbers. In our area we should be able to get 60 bushels per acre of soybeans and canola. Our canola yield was around 27 bu. per acre the first year. We got a late start had some pest damage. We hope to control the bugs this year.
More round numbers. A bushel of soybeans has 1 gal. of oil and a bushel of canola has 2 gal. of oil. Your results may vary. So with beans 60 gal. per acre and canola 120 gal per acre. With a good season and double cropping 180 gal per acre is possible,but as you know something always goes wrong.
We are not degumming. Very new to making biodiesel and I am not sure if gum will be a problem. It is my opinion that the oil has very little gum because it is pressed and not hexane extracted.
Edit:
Cost per gallon? I really have no idea but that won't stop me from guessing. Before the biodiesel processor showed up I told people that the first gallon of oil cost around 8000 dollars. The second gallon was 4000 dollars. Now with the everything adding up the first gallon of biodiesel is close to 30,000 dollars. But things are looking up. We are down to 187 dollars per gallon already.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Jeez FuelFarmer, the information you have just presented is absolutly priceless.

Thank you very much for sharing. I'm hoping this thread explodes with discussions because the forum as a whole lacks info on this.

Great stuff and thanks again!


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey Farmer,

Are you growing on irrigated or dry land? Also, I have heard some people have trouble due to the very small size of canola. I see you have a later model combine (well, later then ours)...any trouble with the seed size?

My family has a 120 acre farm, here in south eastern Nebraska, which hasn't been all that productive the last few years. I have been seriously looking into growing my own oil, since losing my source this summer. I want to go with canola, for it's superior oil, higher yield, and ability to be double cropped. However, it requires a pickup header which may be hard to find for our older combine. My father is leaning towards sunflowers, as they only require a corn style head, but can't be double cropped, here at least.

Just more info for people to consider.


-----------------------------------
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Lost my oil supply at the end of 2007, now gearing up to grow my own.
 
Location: Crete, Nebraska | Registered: November 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow... Farmer, I am really impressed. Let's see... at 180 gal per acre (I'm being optimistic) and 75 acres, That's 13,500 gallons of oil. Is that enough to run the farm on? If there's excess, what will you do with it?

All the best.


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Location: SE Pennsylvania | Registered: December 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A testimonial to the proverb 'sow bountifully, reap bountifully'.


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Location: Utopia Planitia | Registered: February 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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RedLance,
We have irrigation equipment for some of our land but most years we get enough rain to grow a decent crop. This fall it was very dry when the canola was planted and it came up very uneven.Some of the seed did not come up for 3 or 4 weeks and some came up very soon. I just hope the small plants make it through the winter.
The small seed can be a problem to plant if you don't have a planter to handle small seed. We planted 5 lbs. per acre using the grass seed box on the grain drill. We also had a roll of duck tape on hand. Canola will run out of the smallest hole. The joke is your equipment should hold water if you plan to use it for canola.
The only thing we had to buy for canola production was a pick-up head for the combine. We actually had a 24 foot swather, they are not very common in our area. I have read that you can direct cut canola if you have a way to dry the seed. We have only done this for one year, so I am not an expert yet.

Conspirator,
If we actually get 13,500 gallons that would come close to our diesel fuel needs. But as they say, don't count you chickens before they are hatched. Our big fuel hog is a corn chopper that we use for custom harvesting. That fuel sucker will drink close to 20 gal. per hour and it runs 3 to 4 hundred hours per year. But I am not sure if my brother and his boys will trust my fuel in something that costs 300 grand.
Excess? I would love to have excess. I was thrilled to get the first gallon.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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fuelfarmer,

Thank you for sharing your experiences. There is a lot on the web about making biodiesel, but relatively little about pressing seed for oil.

In the picture of your press what is the big pipe going around the machine? Also, is your press heated? If so, how important do you find that?

Thanks,
Hugh
 
Registered: March 07, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Excellent thread!

Thank you for taking the plunge (and all the risk and work that goes with that...) to find a way to make this work.

We can't wait for the government to "fix" this whole petroleum fuel problem.

If you get good at this, I'd bet a fresh crisp Ben Franklin you could make decent money teaching other farmers how to do this. Run seminars at your place and charge $500 a head to run them through the program eight or ten at a time.

Good luck and keep going!

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The pipe loop is a way to recycle the fines and sludge that gets past the press dies. A good bit of crap gets pressed out will the oil and builds up in the catch pan. By the way, the drip tray that comes with the press is not very useful, so I made a shield that drops the oil and fines straight down into a V bottom tub. Inside the pipe loop is a piece of flex auger that is dragged round and round, not turned like a normal flex auger , and that pulls the fines out of the catch tub and drops them into the press hopper to get re-pressed. The auger runs very slow. I need to speed it up a little.
The press is not heated. I think it is very important to have the seeds warm when they get pressed. I installed a pre-heater or heat exchanger of my own design that uses tubes in hot oil to heat the seeds. I have no experience with heated presses.
I can post photos if anyone wants to see details.
I agree that not a lot of info can be found about oilseed pressing. A few web sites can be found. Feel free to ask questions.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by troy:
Excellent thread!

Thank you for taking the plunge (and all the risk and work that goes with that...) to find a way to make this work.

We can't wait for the government to "fix" this whole petroleum fuel problem.

If you get good at this, I'd bet a fresh crisp Ben Franklin you could make decent money teaching other farmers how to do this. Run seminars at your place and charge $500 a head to run them through the program eight or ten at a time.

Good luck and keep going!

troy


I am not that smart. I try to help everyone who wants info. for free. On the other hand I have gotten some great help for free. I do enjoy passing along what little I know.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fuel,

Give yourself more credit than that. All you need to do is take 30 minutes a day and jot down what you have done so far starting from day one. Do it small steps. by next spring I bet you would have a complete rough manuscript. Hand it to a typist and don't think about until it is handed back to you to read and make notes in the margins. Do this for 30 minutes a day.

Oh did I tell you that I used to be a Technical Writer.

Good Luck, happy farming and Be well.


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Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I love this thread! We used to raise canola back before we had any inkling that it could be used as fuel. Now we are out of farming, but I cant help but want to get back in (at least for growing oil)! I must be insane!

Of course, you could say that fuelfarmer is the insane one with his $30k experiment! Keep us posted please.


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Location: Utah | Registered: July 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The biggest part of the $30,000 is the processor. About two thirds. In the end we will be trading canola for the processor so the cash out-lay will not be up front. The press was $4100 without a motor. The pre-heater was around $2000. Motor was 5 or 6 hundred. I used a lot of things we already had to get set up, but the little stuff does add up.

And now just for fun. Canola with wild poppies.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by fuelfarmer:
The biggest part of the $30,000 is the processor. About two thirds. In the end we will be trading canola for the processor so the cash out-lay will not be up front. The press was $4100 without a motor. The pre-heater was around $2000. Motor was 5 or 6 hundred. I used a lot of things we already had to get set up, but the little stuff does add up.

And now just for fun. Canola with wild poppies.


You implied the biggest part of the investment was the biodiesel processor????? or some other piece of processing equipment?

What is a pre-heater for? $2K seems high but not sure what you are talking about.

Great info !!!!! Thank you again..


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The processor is the plastic tank monster that sends chills down your spine.
The pre-heater is used to heat the oilseed before it goes into the press. It is a heated oil tank with heat exchanger tubs for the seed to pass through. The top part is a hopper for the seed. There could be a better way to heat the seeds but I wanted something that would gravity feed after the hopper was filled using an auger. The system is automated. The heater hopper fills automatically from a grain tank and the seeds slowly flow down through tubs surrounded by hot oil and into the press hopper.The oil drops into a catch tube under the press. The fines get recycled back into the press hopper. The oil gets pumped into settling barrels. The press cake drops into a conveyer and moves into a plywood bin.

In the photo the pre-heater is on a stand over the press hopper. The press cake is soybean cake.
 
Location: Virginia | Registered: March 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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