Agronomy V - Oil Crops

Learn to grow, process and manage agronomic crops for oil production


Course Content

This course is divided into nine lessons.

  1. Nature and Scope of Oil Crops
  2. Oil Extraction 
  3. Canola and Rapeseed
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Other Edible Oils
  6. Herbal and Pharmaceutical Oils
  7. Biofuel and Industrial Oils
  8. Issues, Risks, Optimising Success
  9. Product Development and Management

How Useful Can Oil Crops be?

Oil crops have a lot of potential. Vegetable oils are used as foods. Plant oils have many other uses apart from just food value though, including as biofuels, insecticides, components in cosmetics and other industrial applications.

Plant oils typically congregate in seeds where they are used as a rich nutritional source for developing embryos. Given seeds are the main source of plant oils it is useful to know the typical yields of seed oil in different plant species. These can vary considerably. Some seeds contain up to 60 percent oil.

Most oil crops are grown in temperate regions. Together, Europe and North America produce more than half of the world’s oil seeds. Major oilseed crops include soybean, sunflower, brassica, and canola (rapeseed).  
As we have seen, oils are also produced from crops grown in tropical areas with the most important being coconut, oil palm, groundnut/peanut, and cottonseed.

It should be noted yield is not always the best indicator of value. Sometimes a low-yielding crop may be better suited to the local conditions. Leftover pulp (i.e. cake, meal) after oil extraction can also be of significant value. The value of the oil cake should be used to determine the overall value of any crop. If it is edible, then it is often used as animal or poultry feed since it provides a highly nutritious product. If it is inedible, then it may have value as a component in fertilisers.  

Sometimes plant oils are collected as by-products of other industries rather than crops grown specifically for their oils. For example, cottonseed oil is a by-product of the cotton growing industry, and corn oil is a by-product of corn meal making and industries that produce corn starch.


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Fee Information (S2)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $781.66  1 x $710.60
B 2 x $416.96  2 x $379.05

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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