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Production of Safflower Oil

Safflower Oil Production

The safflower plant thrives in hot, dry conditions and tends to do well in the lower mid-western part of the United States where it remains dry during much of the time that the safflower plant matures and seeds. The safflower produces three main resources; safflower oil, safflower meal, and a basis for birdseed.

Once the oil is pressed out of the seeds, a meal is produced that is used in livestock feed for cows, goats, etc. A small portion is reserved for use in birdseed, but since it’s usually part of a mix, birdseed manufacturers by only a small portion of the meal that is produced.

Safflower plants are generally used as part of a crop rotation schedule Safflower plants should not follow each other in the crop rotation schedule, but otherwise they work well in between larger agricultural crops. They generally fare well in dry, hot climates and can be harvested when the pods are dry and brown as it makes the seed pods easier to remove; much like a sunflower.

There are two ways of extracting the oil; by chemical or mechanical processes. In the chemical removal process, the oil is refined by heating and by the addition of chemicals which reduces the amount of nutritional value in the oil. The mechanical process is the most nutrient rich and is sometimes called “raw” as no heat or chemicals have been used.