Patrick Troy, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension regional specialized agent for row crops, is working on a biofuel research study that could lead to the production of jet fuel.
“Fortunately, for the sake of farming, I think diversification is something that has happened with the movement in and out of different crops. Unfortunately, for the agronomic crops, there’s not a lot on the economic horizon that will provide positive cash flow,” says Troy.
Troy has been working on a biofuel crop called Brassica carinata. It can be pressed for oil and then used in the production of jet fuel.
Troy says that with biofuel crops being grown in the winter, Brassica carinata fills a very strong niche that would have otherwise been abandoned in the system. He says his role is to help connect farmers with the possibilities for greater productivity.
“Within our systems here, I think we need to have a stronger focus on rotation to be able to make sure that parts of the farm are productive and efficient,” says Troy.
The research study is in its second year, and work is being conducted on scouting disease and insect issues within the crop.
“The goal is to try to look at the crop from both an adaptive sense as well as an economic sense,” says Troy. “You have to have both of those in the discussion. You can’t just say it’s economical, but it’s not adaptive.”
Troy says researchers are trying to ensure that all of the kinks are worked out before they make strong recommendations for growers. He believes Brassica carinata has some strong promise in regard to renewable energy.
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