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Biodiesel energy crop field days in Southland

4 November 2008

Biodiesel energy crop field days in Southland, South Canterbury and Canterbury

Biodiesel New Zealand is hosting a series of South Island field days in November to give potential oilseed rape growers an opportunity to learn more about the crop and progress made by the business since its first harvests earlier this year.

Solid Energy’s renewable fuel business has several thousand hectares of South Island land in a variety of European oilseed rape cultivars, the majority sown in Autumn. Andrew Simcock, Biodiesel New Zealand’s General Manager, says the business is building a portfolio of contracts for oilseed and is interested in talking to landowners about sowing autumn 2009 crop.

“We have learned some lessons in this last year and we want to share that information with experienced cropping farmers who may be interested in contracts and with other farmers who have land that may be available for lease,” Mr Simcock says. “Our agronomy team members will attend the field days and will talk about our time-of-sowing trials, cultivar performance and crop management as well as contract options.”
Biodiesel New Zealand has been working with the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) since earlier this year to evaluate the potential for biodiesel crops in New Zealand. The research aim is to develop a clear understanding of the benefits and value of oilseed rape as a break crop, optimal crop management approaches, and to ensure that international experience is applied here in a sound scientific manner.
Used in rotation with cereals as a break crop, oilseed rape in Europe has been shown to improve grain yields. Oil production also results in a high-energy meal by-product which is expected to replace some imported stock food supplements. Biodiesel New Zealand has begun construction of an oil extraction and biodiesel production facility at Rolleston.

Biodiesel from oilseed rape, grown and produced in New Zealand, is sustainable, emitting around 50% less carbon dioxide over its life cycle than the mineral diesel it displaces, an independent report by CRL Energy Ltd estimates. The report also identifies opportunities to further reduce this carbon footprint, for instance by using no-tillage cultivation. No-tillage and other energy-saving cultivation and crop management techniques are being trialled by Biodiesel New Zealand.

The field day schedule is:
● Southland (Otama) - Thursday 6 November 1-3pm, Solari property on Otama Flat Road, north-west of Gore (signposted from Otamita Bridge corner of Waimea Highway - SH94).
● South Canterbury (Hook) - Thursday 13 November 1-3pm, Foley property at Hook, corner of O’Neill’s and Rathgens Roads (signposted from O’Neill’s Road turnoff at SH1, south of Makikihi).
● Canterbury (Darfield) - Thursday 20 November 1-3pm, Morrison property at Racecourse Hill (signposted from intersection of West Coast Road - SH73 - and Bleak House Road).


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