Safflower Survives Hot Summer

Farmers benefited from growing drought tolerant crops during the hottest summer on record in Nebraska. This year Dreamland industries contracted more more than 18 - thousand acres of safflower in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, President Ray Templeton says the crop performed better than expected.

This year's drought caused yields to be highly variable. Templeton says every farmer didn't get the best yields, but since safflower is a very drought tolerant crop, our growers were pleased with it's performance as a lot of farmers didn't make any other crop except safflower.

This year's the highest yielding irrigated field produced 1860 pounds per acre, the best dryland field produced 1500 pounds per acre. Overall the crop averaged 700 pounds per acre.

Besides yields, Dreamland also evaluates the crop on oil content and quality. Templeton says the Wyobraska growers produced a high quality crop. The Nebraska and Wyoming acreage yields better oil quality than other areas further south. He says it's a great area for them as it does high oil content seed.

Safflower is primarily known as a biodiesel plant, but with the product is becoming recognized as a valuable food ingredient. Templeton says interest in safflower as a food oil came about when legislation began to be introduced to eliminate trans fats in Americans diets.

Dreamland's brand "West Texas Safflower Oil" is now being carried by several grocery stores chains. Templeton says the more stores that carry the product the higher the return will be to farmers that grow this versatile crop.

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