The Safflower, previously grown to produce yellow and red dye, is expected to flourish
in region's crop rotations as a component of oil, meal and birdseed mixtures.
High Plains research aimed at boosting safflower crop production will be showcased
at a field day on Tuesday (July 21) at Texas Tech University’s Quaker Avenue Research Farm
. The facility is located 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.