Washington State farmers experiment with canola as biodiesel cash crop

Farmers in Washington State are experimenting with canola for biodiesel production as a new cash crop to supplement existing diary or vegetable crop income. Conditions in Snohomish County, which boasts cool temperatures, moist sea air and good soils, are proving to be so ideal for canola growing that yields are vastly outpacing European norms. Last year Snohomish County farmers averaged 158 gallons / 598 L of biodiesel per acre of planted canola compared to just 84 gallons / 318 L of biodiesel per acre in Europe.

Snohomish County, looking to power its 325 diesel vehicles and generators from B20 canola biodiesel, put up $30,000 last year to help fund the experiment and will contribute a further $125,000 over the next two years. Canola biodiesel is about 30-40 cents per gallon more expensive than soy biodiesel but rising fuel prices over the northern Summer could see this issue dissolve if diesel is more expensive than both.

Analysis: Washington state has a mandatory B2 policy in place and has already discussed increasing the blend to five percent in the future. Ideally the state would like to produce its entire biodiesel needs from locally grown feedstocks to bolster their local farming economy.

[Source: Herald Net]

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