Safflower Field Day Set for July 21 at Texas Tech Research Farm

Researchers aim to increase growth of sunflower relative.

Written by Cory Chandler

High Plains research aimed boosting safflower crop production will be showcased at a field day on Tuesday (July 21) at Texas Tech University’s research farm.

The facility is located in Lubbock at the intersection of 2nd Street and Quaker Avenue in Lubbock.

Safflower seeds are used for cooking oils and in margarine, much like sunflower seeds. According to energy officials, safflower also makes an excellent feed stock for biodiesel.

 “We think that winter and spring safflower has great potential as an oilseed crop for this region,” said Dick Auld, the Rockwell Endowed Chair in Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science.

Hosted by Texas Tech, Dreamland Industries Inc. and Texas AgriLife Research and Extension, the morning field day will run from 10 a.m. to noon and include presentations by researchers, private seed companies, growers and processors.

 Among the day’s featured speakers are Jerry Bergman, superintendent for the Montana State University Eastern Agricultural Research Center, who has conducted research on safflower production for more than three decades.

 Steve Oswalt, a Texas Tech research associate and farm manager of the Quaker Research Farm, will provide an update on performance of spring and winter safflower and irrigation response. Ray Templeton, CEO of Abilene-based Dreamland Industries Inc., will provide an overview of safflower crop production in West Texas.

 Safflower, which comes from the same plant family as the sunflower, is adapted to dryland or irrigated production, and can be planted using the same equipment as wheat or sorghum. The safflower, which looks like a thistle, was originally grown for the flowers that were used in making red and yellow dyes for clothing and food preparation. Now, the annual oilseed crop primarily supplies oil, meal and birdseed.

 Safflower production in the United States reached 310 million pounds in 2008, a 47 percent increase from the previous year. Today, California grows more than 50 percent of the U.S. safflower crop.

 “We think it (safflower) will find a place in West Texas crop rotations,” Auld said.

 CONTACT: Dick Auld, professor, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-5704 or