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Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink What information can you give me on crop oilseed yields?


Answer: I am pleased to provide you with information on crop oilseed yields. I have also included some information and resources on using peanut oil for biodiesel production.

Below is a table taken from the ATTRA publication, Biodiesel: The Sustainability Dimensions, that lists various oil producing crops and their relative oil yields in gallons per acre. One gallon of oil = 7.3 pounds (Hill, Kurki, and Morris, 2006). Please keep in mind as you examine this table that the yields will vary in different agroclimatic zones. Plant variety and the type of production system will also affect oil yields.


Adapted from Joshua Tickell, From the Fryer to the Fuel
Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative
. 3rd Ed. 2000.

Plant Latin Name Gal Oil/ Acre Plant Latin Name Gal Oil/ Acre
Oil Palm Elaeis guineensis 610 Rice Oriza sativa L. 85
Macauba Palm Acrocomia aculeata 461 Buffalo Gourd Cucurbita foetidissima 81
Pequi Caryocar brasiliense 383 Safflower Carthamus tinctorius 80
Buriti Palm Mauritia flexuosa 335 Crambe Crambe abyssinica 72
Oiticia Licania rigida 307 Sesame Sesamum indicum 71
Coconut Cocos nucifera 276 Camelina Camelina sativa 60
Avocado Persea americana 270 Mustard Brassica alba 59
Brazil Nut Bertholletia excelsa 245 Coriander Coriandrum sativum 55
Macadamia Nut Macadamia terniflora 230 Pumpkin Seed Cucurbita pepo 55
Jatropa Jatropha curcas 194 Euphorbia Euphorbia lagascae 54
Babassu Palm Orbignya martiana 188 Hazelnut Corylus avellana 49
Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis 186 Linseed Linum usitatissimum 49
Pecan Carya illinoensis 183 Coffee Coffea arabica 47
Bacuri Platonia insignis 146 Soybean Glycine max 46
Castor Bean Ricinus communis 145 Hemp Cannabis sativa 37
Gopher Plant Euphorbia lathyris 137 Cotton Gossypium hirsutum 33
Piassava Attalea funifera 136 Calendula Calendula officinalis 31
Olive Tree Olea europaea 124 Kenaf Hibiscus cannabinus L. 28
Rapeseed Brassica napus 122 Rubber Seed Hevea brasiliensis 26
Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum 119 Lupine Lupinus albus 24
Peanut Ariachis hypogaea 109 Palm Erythea salvadorensis 23
Cocoa Theobroma cacao 105 Oat Avena sativa 22
Sunflower Helianthus annuus 98 Cashew Nut Anacardium occidentale 18
Tung Oil Tree Aleurites fordii 96 Corn Zea mays 18

According to this chart, peanuts yield about 109 gallons of oil per acre. There are four types of peanuts to consider for production which is limited to the southern regions of the U.S., where nearly 15% of peanuts are crushed for oil in the U.S. (Piedmont Biofuels, 2008). The Virginia peanut has the largest peanut kernels and is the most commonly sold snack peanut (, 2008). This peanut is also sold in the shell for roasting. The Virginia peanut is grown in Virginia (as the name implies) and in North Carolina. The Spanish peanut has a smaller kernel and reddish-brown skin. This variety is used to make peanut butter, snack nuts and peanut candies. These peanuts are grown mostly in Texas and Oklahoma. The Runner variety is the most dominant of all peanut varieties in the United States. Over half of these peanuts are used for peanut butter. Their yields are extremely high and are grown in Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The Valencia peanut variety has very bright red skin and small kernels. This variety is very sweet and is sold roasted in the shell. These peanuts make excellent boiled peanuts when cooked fresh. Valencia peanuts are primarily grown in New Mexico. Listed below is an article from the Southeast Farm Press titled, Improved Peanut Varieties in Pipeline. This article offers an extended list of peanut varieties by type.

Many old and new peanut varieties are being tested for field performance, and their oils are being analyzed for diesel performance characteristics (Durham, 2007). It has been found that high-oleic-acid peanuts are desired for extended shelf life of food products and also makes the best biodiesel fuel.

Scientists at the ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory at Dawson, Ga., in collaboration with the University of Georgia, are testing 24 high-oil peanut varieties that have reduced production costs and increased yields (Durham, 2007). This biodiesel screening project is noted for breeding a peanut called Georganic. It's not suited to current commercial edible standards for peanuts, but is high in oil and has low production input costs.

These researchers have demonstrated at multiple sites that low input, high yielding peanuts can produce a ton per acre for surprisingly low input costs (Roberson, 2007). Research at the University of Georgia has pegged peanut biodiesel at 123 gallons per acre, based on state average yields, which are 500-600 pounds per acre higher than the low input peanuts in the USDA test. Some researchers contend once better varieties are developed, along with more efficient conversion practices, production may reach 150 gallons per acre. Please be aware that the Peanut Variety Protection Act (PVP) and the awarding of utility patents to the high oleic characteristic may limit the production or sale of seed of certain varieties (Gorbet, Tillman, and Whitty, 2006).

Also listed below is a 2007 report from the University of Georgia on the economics of peanuts for biodiesel production. In addition, ATTRA will be releasing an organic peanut production publication soon. Please continue to check our website or contact us for information on its availability.


Durham, Sharon. 2007. “Peanuts Studied as Source of Biodiesel.” Beltsville, MD.

Gorbet, D.W., B.L. Tillman, and E.B. Whitty. 2006. “Farmer Saved Peanut Seed: Factors to Consider.” Gainsville, FL. Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

Hill, Amanda, Al Kurki, and Mike Morris. 2006. “Biodiesel: The Sustainability Dimensions.” ATTRA Publication. Butte, MT: National Center for Appropriate Technology. Pages 4-5.

Piedmont Biofuels. 2008. “Biodiesel Production for On-Farm Use.” ATTRA. Butte, MT: The National Center for Appropriate Technology. Slide 17.

Roberson, Roy. 2007. “Peanut Biodiesel Could Save Farmers Millions.” Western Farm Press, May 2007. 2008. “Learn Peanut Varieties.” Bellevue, WA: eHow,Inc.

Hollis, Paul. 2008. “Improved Peanut Varieties in Pipeline.” Southeast Farm Press, February 26, 2008.

McKissick, John, George Shumaker, and Nathan Smith. 2007. “Economics of Peanuts for Biodiesel Production.” Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia.



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