When a farmer is considering growing a biodiesel feedstock, it can be helpful to compare data on yield, oil percentage, price, and biodiesel production per acre. Unfortunately, this kind of data can be difficult to find in one place.
We have compiled the following table from a number of different sources, to help with quick comparisons. This table can give you a sense of which feedstocks you might want to research further.
Please keep in mind that some of this data can vary widely based on location and the economy. For example, the yield per acre depends on climate, rainfall, and management practices. We have provided a range of yields, as well as the average yield for 2010 in the United States. Also keep in mind that yield has historically increased from year to year, and this trend is likely to continue.
The commodity price and oil price fluctuate from year to year. The price data is based on the information available as of February 2011. For the latest price information, see the most current Agricultural Prices publication at the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. You can also find historical data at this link.
Some of the numbers in the table are linked to the source documents from which they are derived. In the Notes section below, we provide the actual page number of the document, so you can easily find more information about the crop you are interested in.
The percent of oil in each feedstock refers to the maximum amount of oil that could be extracted, and is achievable only by using solvent extraction. Mechanical extraction will result in meal with about 10% oil content. If you start with a feedstock that has a high percentage of oil (such as canola, with about 40%), you might be able to extract 75% of this oil with a mechanical method. If you start with a lower-oil feedstock, such as soy (with about 20% oil), you may only be able to extract half of this mechanically.
Other numbers (the oil yield per acre, and biodiesel yield per acre) were calculated by us using the original data found in the source documents. For example, for oil yield per acre, we multiplied the percent oil by the yield per acre. The biodiesel yield per acre is essentially the same as the oil yield per acre, but we converted the number from pounds per acre to gallons per acre.
|Oilseed type||Yield/acre||% oil of Yield||Oil yieldi (lbs/acre)||Biodiesel yieldii (gal/acre)||Commodity Price of Seed||Oil Price (cents/lb)|
|Soybean||average: 43.5 bu (2610 lbs)
range: 25 - 52.5 bu (1500 - 3150 lbs)
|51 - 55|
|Canola||average: 1713 lbs
range: 1530 - 2450 lbs
57.5 - 61.5
|Corn||average: 153 bu (8568 lbs)
range: 67 - 210 bu (3752 - 11760 lbs)
|55 - 59|
|Flaxseed||average: 21.7 bu (1215 lbs)
range: 14 - 22 bu (784 - 1232 lbs)
|68.5 - 71.5|
|Mustard||average: 870 lbs||37||367||48||
|Peanuts||average: 3311 lbs
range: 1800 - 3600 lbs
|54||1842||240||22.9 cents/lb (in shell)||77.5 - 81.5|
|Rapeseed||average: 1891 lbs||39iii||663||86||
|Safflower||average: 1320 lbs
range: 740 - 2250 lbs
|Sunflower||average: 1458 lbs
range: 1150 - 1500 lbs
|63.5 - 67.5|
iAssuming 100% oil extraction (calculated value)
iiBased on calculated oil yield
iiiBooth E.J., Gunstone, F.D. 2004. Chapter 1: "Rapeseed and Rapeseed Oil: Agronomy, Production and Trade," in Rapeseed and Canola Oil Production, Processing, Properties, and Uses, CRC Press.
The table above contains links that will take you to the source documents for the information. Below are some notes about the data and source documents.