Economic feasibility of diesel fuel substitutes from oilseeds in New York State

William F. Lazarus, Ronald E. Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The feasibility of producing oilseeds for feed and for diesel fuel substitute has primarily been discussed in terms of the major oilseed producing areas. The Northeast region of the United States is a major agricultural producing area which imports large quantities of soybean meal for cattle feed. This paper considers the technical economic feasibility of producing oilseeds for feed and fuel in New York State, which is selected as a case study for the region. The possible crops considered for expanded production are sunflowers, soybeans, and flax. It is found that if enough oilseeds are grown to replace 25% of the diesel fuel used on farms, then at most 5% of the cropland would have to be converted to oilseeds, and meal would not be produced in excess of the amount currently used. The cost of producing oil is calculated as the cost of producing the seed plus the cost of processing minus the value of the meal. Enterprise budgets are developed for estimating oilseed production costs in New York State. The cost of processing is estimated for both an industrial-size plant, which does not now exist in New York, and a small on-farm plant. It is found that the diesel fuel and vegetable oil prices would have to rise substantially before oilseeds were produced in the Northeast region for feed and fuel. Moreover, the construction of an oilseed processing facility would not necessarily stimulate production of oilseeds in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy in Agriculture
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1984

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