Useful non-herbal plants

All of the plants listed below EITHER have oils that can be used for fuels/industrial processes, AND/OR have uses as human, and livestock feed, as well as many other miscellaneous uses. 


E.A. Oelke1, E.S. Oplinger2, C.V. Hanson1, K.A. Kelling2

1Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
2Department of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706. October, 1990.
I. History:

Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba Benth.) is a low growing herbaceous winter annual that is adapted to poorly drained soils. Limnanthes means marshflower and the common name "Meadowfoam" arose due to the appearance, at full bloom, of its solid canopy of creamy white flowers. Meadowfoam is native to northern California, southern Oregon, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The oil from meadowfoam seed has unique chemical properties that make it one of the most stable vegetable oils known.

Research and development of meadowfoam began in the late 1950s as the result of a USDA search for plants that might provide a renewable source of raw materials for industry. Commercial development began in 1980 on an experimental 35 acre farm scale operation in Oregon. However, the lack of consistent funding has slowed the development of both the agronomic and the oil utilization aspects of this unique renewable oil resource.
II. Uses:

Meadowfoam seeds (nutlets) contain 20 to 30% oil. Meadowfoam oil contains three previously unknown long chain fatty acids. The oil is over 90% C20 to C22 fatty acids and is most similar to high euric acid rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is slightly more saturated than meadowfoam oil. Meadowfoam oil can be chemically transformed into a liquid wax ester that is a substitute for sperm whale oil and jojoba oil. Meadowfoam oil can also be converted to a light colored premium grade solid wax, a sulfur polymer factice potentially valuable to the rubber industry, or used as a lubricant, detergent or plasticizer. Potential industrial applications for meadowfoam oil are currently being researched by USDA-ARS at the New Crops Research Center in Peoria, Illinois.

After the oil is removed by crushing the seed and utilizing a solvent extraction process, the remaining meal may be used as a feed source. Meadowfoam meal fed to beef cattle at levels up to 25% of total intake had no negative impact on weight gain. Use of the meal for other livestock may require steam cooking or using a lower percentage of meal in the total feed supply. Further research in this area is necessary.
III. Growth Habit:

Meadowfoam is an erect annual herb with one or more branches arising from the base and grows to a height of 10 to 18 in. It has a shallow fibrous root system that allows for easy transplanting at any stage of growth. Leaves are pinnately dissected, flowers are regular, perfect, and usually conspicuous on axillary peduncles.

Meadowfoam requires insect pollination to set seed. Cool, wet, or windy weather during flowering limits the activity of pollinators and therefore reduces the number of fertilized flowers. Meadowfoam is not self pollinating because the male reproductive organs mature before the female organs are mature (pollen is released from the anthers before the stigma of the flower is receptive). This plant adaptation is common for enhancing cross pollination. Two or three colonies of bees per acre of meadowfoam are needed for adequate pollination (note: other flowering plants in the vicinity may be preferred by pollinators). The development of self pollinating varieties should increase yield potential.
IV. Environment Requirements:
A. Climate:

Meadowfoam has a very low tolerance to water stress and therefore is well adapted to the cool wet Mediterranean climate of the Pacific Northwest. Many areas in the U.S. may be able to produce meadowfoam if, in the future, market demands make oil production profitable. Under conditions of below average precipitation in the Willamette Valley, irrigation during flowering and seed development was found to significantly increase yields.


D.H. Putnam1, E.S. Oplinger2, D.R. Hicks1, B.R. Durgan1, D.M. Noetzel1, R.A. Meronuck1, J.D. Doll2, and E.E. Schulte2

1Departments of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
2Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wl 53706. November, 1990.
I. History:

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is one of the few crop species that originated in North America (most originated in the fertile crescent, Asia or South or Central America). It was probably a "camp follower" of several of the western native American tribes who domesticated the crop (possibly 1000 BC) and then carried it eastward and southward of North America. The first Europeans observed sunflower cultivated in many places from southern Canada to Mexico.

Sunflower was probably first introduced to Europe through Spain, and spread through Europe as a curiosity until it reached Russia where it was readily adapted. Selection for high oil in Russia began in 1860 and was largely responsible for increasing oil content from 28% to almost 50%. The high-oil lines from Russia were reintroduced into the U.S. after World War II, which rekindled interest in the crop. However, it was the discovery of the male-sterile and restorer gene system that made hybrids feasible and increased commercial interest in the crop. Production of sunflowers subsequently rose dramatically in the Great Plains states as marketers found new niches for the seeds as an oil crop, a birdseed crop, and as a human snack food. Production in these regions in the 1980s has declined mostly because of low prices, but also due to disease, insect and bird problems. Sunflower acreage is now moving westward into dryer regions; however, 85% of the North American sunflower seed is still produced in North and South Dakota and Minnesota.
II. Uses:
A. Edible oil:

Commercially available sunflower varieties contain from 39 to 49% oil in the seed. In 1985-86, sunflower seed was the third largest source of vegetable oil worldwide, following soybean and palm. The growth of sunflower as an oilseed crop has rivaled that of soybean, with both increasing production over 6-fold since the 1930s. Sunflower accounts for about 14% of the world production of seed oils (6.9 million metric tons in 1985-86) and about 7% of the oilcake and meal produced from oilseeds. Europe and the USSR produce over 60% of the world's sunflowers.

The oil accounts for 80% of the value of the sunflower crop, as contrasted with soybean which derives most of its value from the meal. Sunflower oil is generally considered a premium oil because of its light color, high level of unsaturated fatty acids and lack of linolenic acid, bland flavor and high smoke points. The primary fatty acids in the oil are oleic and linoleic (typically 90% unsaturated fatty acids), with the remainder consisting of palmitic and stearic saturated fatty acids. The primary use is as a salad and cooking oil or in margarine. In the USA, sunflower oils account for 8% or less of these markets, but in many sunflower-producing countries, sunflower is the preferred and the most commonly used oil.

High oleic sunflower oil (over 80% oleic acid) was developed commercially in 1985 and has higher oxidated stability than conventional oil. It has expanded the application of sunflower oils for frying purposes, tends to enhance shelf life of snacks, and could be used as an ingredient of infant formulas requiring stability.
B. Meal:

Non-dehulled or partly dehulled sunflower meal has been substituted successfully for soybean meal in isonitrogenous (equal protein) diets for ruminant animals, as well as for swine and poultry feeding. Sunflower meal is higher in fiber, has a lower energy value and is lower in lysine but higher in methionine than soybean meal. Protein percentage of sunflower meal ranges from 28% for non-dehulled seeds to 42% for completely dehulled seeds. The color of the meal ranges from grey to black, depending upon extraction processes and degree of dehulling.
C. Industrial Applications:

The price of sunflower oil usually prohibits its widespread use in industry, but there are several applications that have been explored. It has been used in certain paints, varnishes and plastics because of good semidrying properties without color modification associated with oils high in linolenic acid. In Eastern Europe and the USSR where sunflower oil is plentiful, sunflower oil is used commonly in the manufacture of soaps and detergents. The use of sunflower oil (and other vegetable oils) as a pesticide carrier, and in the production of agrichemicals, surfactants, adhesives, plastics, fabric softeners, lubricants and coatings has been explored. The utility of these applications is usually contingent upon petrochemical feedstock prices.

Sunflower oil contains 93% of the energy of US Number 2 diesel fuel (octane rating of 37), and considerable work has been done to explore the potential of sunflower as an alternate fuel source in diesel engines. Blends of sunflower oil and diesel fuel are expected to have greater potential than the burning of pure vegetable oil.
D. Non-Oilseed:

The use of sunflower seed for birdfeed or in human diets as a snack, has grown consistently over the past 15 years. Varieties used for non-oilseed purposes are characterized by a larger seed size and require slightly different management practices. During processing, seed is divided into 1) larger seed for in-shell roasting, 2) medium for dehulling, and 3) small for birdseed. Standards for different uses vary.
E. Forage:

Sunflower can also be used as a silage crop. It can be used as a double crop after early harvested small grains or vegetables, an emergency crop, or in areas with a season too short to produce mature corn for silage.

Forage yields of sunflower are generally less than corn when a full growing season is available. In one study, sunflower dry matter yields ranged from 2.0 to 3.0 ton/acre compared with 3.1 to 3.8 ton/acre for corn. Moisture content of sunflower at maturity is usually high (80 to 90%) and would require wilting before ensiling.

Nutritional quality of sunflower silage is often higher than corn but lower than alfalfa hay (Table 1). Crude protein level of sunflower silage is similar to grass hay and higher than corn silage. Generally, crude protein of sunflower decreases and lignin percentage increases after the flowering stage. High plant populations increases fiber and lignin percentage. Seed size does not seem to affect yield or quality.

Canola (Rapeseed)

E.S. Oplinger1, L.L. Hardman2, E.T. Gritton1, J.D. Doll1, and K.A. Kelling1

1Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706.
2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. Nov., 1989.
I. History:

Canola is a name applied to edible oilseed rape. This plant belongs to the mustard family along with 3,000 other species. Close relatives of this crop have been cultivated for food since the earliest recordings of man. Rapeseed has been important to Europe since the 13th century as a source of food and oil for fuel. Rapeseed production became popular in North America during World War II as a source of lubricants. Its oil has the property of adhering well to moist metal, making it an ideal lubricant for marine engines.

The name "canola" was registered in 1979 by the Western Canadian Oilseed Crushers Association to describe "double-low" varieties. Double low indicates that the processed oil contains less than 2% erucic acid and the meal less than 3 mg/g of glucosinolates. Erucic acid is a fatty acid that has been related to heart disease. Glucosinolates have breakdown products that are toxic to animals. Both characteristics make rapeseed products poor candidates for animal consumption.

In the early 1960s, Canadian plant breeders isolated single lines free of erucic acid and began programs to develop double low varieties.

Today annual worldwide production of canola is approximately 7.5 million tons on 4 million acres. Canada accounts for 15% of the world production and the European Economic Community for nearly 17%. The United States produces less than 1% of the world production. Minnesota and North Dakota are the major U.S. production states with about 20,000 acres. Canola ranks 5th in production among the world's oilseed crops following soybeans, sunflowers, peanuts and cottonseed.
II. Uses:
A. Oil and Protein:

Like soybean, canola contains both high oil content as well as high protein content. It contains about 40% oil and 23% protein compared to 20 and 40%, respectively, for soybean. Like soybean, when the oil is crushed out, it leaves a high quality, high protein (37%) feed concentrate which is highly palatable to livestock. Commercial varieties of canola were developed from two species; Brassica napus (Argentine type) and Brassica campestris (Polish type). Both species of canola produce seed that is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and linolenic).
B. Forages:

Another potential for canola is as an annual forage. Historically, it was used as a forage for field-raised swine and poultry. Canola can produce 1.0 to 2.0 tons of dry matter per acre in a single season. A study conducted in Kansas found winter rapeseed forage to have crude protein of 21-33%, compared to 24% for winter wheat foliage.


D.H. Putnam1, E.S. Oplinger2, T.M. Teynor3, E.A. Oelke1, K.A. Kelling2, and J.D. Doll2

1Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. MN 55108.
2Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706.
3Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. July 1991.
I. History:

The cultivated peanut or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.), originated in South America (Bolivia and adjoining countries) and is now grown throughout the tropical an warm temperate regions of the, world. This crop was grown widely by native peoples of the New World at the time of European expansion in the sixteenth century and was subsequently taken to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Peanut was introduced to the present southeastern United States during colonial times. Peanut was grown primarily as a garden crop in the United States until 1870. As a field crop, peanut was used commonly for hog pasture until about 1930.

Peanut, an important oil and food crop, is currently grown on approximately 42 million acres worldwide. It is the third major oilseed of the world next to soybean and cotton (FAO Food Outlook, 1990). India, China, and the United States have been the leading producers for over 25 years and grow about 70% of the world crop. Peanut was ranked ninth in acreage among major row crops in the United States during 1982 and second in dollar value per acre. Production of peanut in the U.S.A. during 1989-1990 was estimated at 1.8 million tons. or about 8% of the world production of 23.2 million tons (FAO Food Outlook, 1990). In 1983, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and North Carolina grew 80% of the 1,375,000 acres of peanut in the United States. Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, and New Mexico were the other states with more than 10,000 acres of peanut.

The peanut crop in the U.S.A. is composed of four market types from two subspecies. A. hypogaea hypogaea includes the Virginia and Runner market types. The second subspecies, A. hypogaea fastigiata, includes two botanical varieties of economic importance: vulgaris, the Spanish market type, and fastigiata, the Valencia market type. Virginia peanuts have the largest pods and elongated seeds, while Runner peanuts are medium-size varieties of the Virginia type. Spanish types have smaller round seeds and Valencia is intermediate in size and shape. Valencia is grown primarily in New Mexico, Spanish in Oklahoma and Texas, and other types in the Southeast and Texas. The Runner type includes 70% of the edible trade in the U.S.A. with Virginia and Spanish accounting for 20 and 10%, respectively. Valencia peanuts generally constitute less than 1% of the U.S. market (Knauft and Gorbet, 1989).

Peanut has only occasionally been grown in northern states due to its warm temperature requirement. Use of poorly adapted varieties and improper production practices usually resulted in low yields and poor quality nuts. However, peanut has good potential as a food crop in Minnesota and Wisconsin and could be an alternative cash crop to soybean, corn, potato, or fieldbean (Robinson, 1984, and Pendleton, 1977).
II. Uses:

All parts of the peanut plant can be used. The peanut, grown primarily for human consumption, has several uses as whole seeds or is processed to make peanut butter, oil, and other products. The seed contains 25 to 32% protein (average of 25% digestible protein) and 42 to 52% oil. A pound of peanuts is high in food energy and provides approximately the same energy value as 2 pounds of beef, 1.5 pounds of Cheddar cheese, 9 pints of milk, or 36 medium-size eggs (Woodroof, 1983).

Peanuts are consumed chiefly as roasted seeds or peanut butter in the United States compared to use as oil elsewhere in the world. Americans eat about 4 million pounds (unshelled weight) of peanuts each day. Approximately two-thirds of all U.S. peanuts are used for food products of which most are made into peanut butter. Salted and shelled peanuts, candy, and roasted-in-shell peanuts are the next most common uses for peanuts produced in this country. The remaining one-third of annual production is used for seed, feed, production of oil, or exported as food or oil. The large nuts sold as in- and out-of-shell are supplied by Virginia (confectionery or cocktail) and Runner ("beer nuts") types. Spanish varieties supply small shelled nuts, "redskins", and the Valencia type is used for medium-size nuts in the shell. Runner and Spanish are made into peanut butter while all types are used for peanut products that do not require a specific seed size.

Nonfood products such as soaps, medicines, cosmetics, and lubricants can be made from peanuts. The vines with leaves are an excellent high protein hay for horses and ruminant livestock. The pods or shells serve as high fiber roughage in livestock feed, fuel (fireplace "logs"), mulch, and are used in manufacturing particle board or fertilizer.


E.A. Oelke1, E.S. Oplinger2, T.M. Teynor3, D.H. Putnam1, J.D. Doll2, K.A. Kelling2, B. R. Durgan1, and D.M. Noetzel1

1Departments of Agronomy, Plant Genetics and Entomology, Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
2Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706.
3Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products, Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. Feb., 1992.
I. History:

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is an annual, broadleaf oilseed crop adapted chiefly to the small-grain production areas of the western Great Plains. Evaluations of safflower in the Great Plains states began in 1925, but the seed had an oil content that was too low for profitable oil extraction. In the following years the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station developed varieties with about 35% oil compared to older varieties with less than 30%.

Commercial production became concentrated in western Nebraska and eastern Colorado, but is now located in several Western states and Canadian Prairie provinces. California grows approximately 50% of the safflower in the U.S.A., while North Dakota and Montana, grow most of the remaining domestic production. South Dakota, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona also produce safflower, but with much smaller acreages.

There are two types of safflower varieties, the type that produces oil which is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid), and those with high concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid). Either type of safflower raised in the Northern Great Plains is very low in saturated fatty acids when compared to other vegetable oils. Only the linoleic safflower is being grown commercially in the Upper Midwest. Varieties with a high content of oleic acid may soon be grown more widely.
II. Uses:

Safflower was originally grown for the flowers that were used in making red and yellow dyes for clothing and food preparation. Today this crop supplies oil, meal, birdseed, and foots (residue from oil processing) for the food and industrial products markets, although this crop is now primarily grown for the oil.

The oil in linoleic safflower contains nearly 75% linoleic acid, which is considerably higher than corn, soybean, cottonseed, peanut or olive oils. This type of safflower is used primarily for edible oil products such as salad oils and soft margarines. Researchers disagree on whether oils high in polyunsaturated acids, like linoleic acid, help decrease blood cholesterol and the related heart and circulatory problems. Nonetheless, it is considered a "high quality" edible oil and public concern about this topic made safflower an important crop for vegetable oil.

Varieties that are high in oleic acid may serve as a heat-stable, but expensive cooking oil used to fry potato chips and french fries. As an industrial oil, it is considered a drying or semidrying oil that is used in manufacturing paints and other surface coatings. The oil is light in color and will not yellow with aging, hence it is used in white and light-colored paints. This oil can also be used as a diesel fuel substitute, but like most vegetable oils, is currently too expensive for this use.

The meal that remains after oil extraction is used as a protein supplement for livestock. The meal usually contains about 24% protein and much fiber. Decorticated meal (most of hulls removed) has about 40% protein with a reduced fiber content. Foots are used to manufacture soap. The birdseed industry buys a small portion of the seed production. Sheep and cattle can graze succulent safflower and stubble fields after harvest.
III. Growth Habit:

Safflower is an annual species in the same plant family as sunflower. This crop is adapted to dryland or irrigated cropping systems. Each seed germinates and produces a central stem that does not elongate for two to three weeks, and develops leaves near the ground in a rosette, similar to a young thistle. The slow growth of seedlings in early spring often results in a weedy crop. The strong central stems, with variable numbers of branches, grow to between 12 to 36 in. depending on environmental conditions. Safflower can compensate for hail damage with little yield loss once branches have developed. This crop is more drought tolerant than small grains since it has a taproot that can grow to 8 to 10 ft. if subsoil temperature and moisture allow. Stiff spines develop on leaf margins of most varieties at about the flower bud stage and make it difficult to walk through the fields.

Branches usually produce one to five flower heads. Flower heads, about one inch in diameter, are usually yellow or orange in color, although some varieties have red or white flowers. Flower buds form in late June and flowering starts in mid- to late July, and continues for two to three weeks depending on environmental conditions, stand density, and varietal differences. Each flower head produces 15 to 30 seeds with a seed oil content usually between 30 to 45%. Seeds are enclosed in the head at maturity, which prevents shattering before harvest and delays somewhat the feeding loss from birds. Seeds usually mature in September, which is about four weeks after flowering ends. This crop usually needs 110 to 140 days to mature in the Upper Midwest.
IV. Environment Requirements:
A. Climate:

Safflower production is not recommended for areas with more than 15 in. of annual precipitation or growing seasons with fewer than 120 frost-free days and less than 2,200 growing degree days. Temperatures as low as 20°F are tolerated by plants while in the rosette stage, but safflower is very sensitive to frost injury after stem elongation until crop maturity. This crop does best in areas with warm temperatures and sunny, dry conditions during the flowering and seed-filling periods. Yields are lower under humid or rainy conditions since seed set is reduced and the occurrence of leaf spot and head rot diseases increases. Consequently, this crop is adapted to semiarid regions. Most areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin are not well suited for safflower.


A.W. Cattanach1 A.G. Dexter1, and E.S. Oplinger2

1Extension Sugarbeet Specialists, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, and University of Minnesota Extension Services, St. Paul, MN 55 108.
2Department of Agronomy, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison. WI 53706. July, 1991.
I. History:

Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) growing for sucrose production became successful in the United States starting about 1870. Earlier attempts at sugarbeet production were not totally successful. Once a viable industry was established, sugarbeets were grown in 26 states. About 1,400,000 acres were produced in 14 states in 1990. Minnesota and North Dakota produced about 550,000 acres. Other leading sugarbeet states are Idaho, California, Michigan, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Texas. Canada produces sugarbeets in Manitoba and Alberta. Russia leads worldwide production of sugarbeets with nearly 8,500,000 acres followed by Poland, France, West Germany and Turkey with about 1,000,000 acres each. The United States beet sugar industry has experienced great change in the last three decades. A total of 10 beet processors operated 53 factories in 18 states in 1973 while nine companies operated only 36 factories in the United States in 1990.
II. Uses:

Sugarbeets are used primarily for production of sucrose, a high energy pure food. Man's demand for sweet foods is universal. Honey was the main sweetener for primitive man. Trade in sugar from sugarcane can be traced to primitive times too. The sugarbeet was recognized as a plant with valuable sweetening properties in the early 1700s.
A. Human Food:

Sucrose from sugarbeets is the principal use for sugarbeets in the United States. Sugarbeets contain from 13 to 22% sucrose. Sucrose is used widely as a pure high energy food or food additive. High fiber dietary food additives are manufactured from sugarbeet pulp and major food processors in the United States have used these dietary supplements in recently introduced new products including breakfast cereals.
B. Livestock Feed:

Sugarbeet pulp and molasses are processing by-products widely used as feed supplements for livestock. These products provide required fiber in rations and increase the palatability of feeds. Sugarbeet tops also can be used for livestock feed. Sheep and cattle ranchers allow grazing of beet fields in the fall to utilize tops. Cattle and sheep also will eat small beets left in the field after harvest but producers grazing livestock in harvested fields should be aware of the risk of livestock choking on small beets.

Beet tops (leaves and petioles) also can be used as silage. Sugarbeets that produce 20 tons/acre of roots also produce a total of about 5 tons/acre of TDN per acre in the tops. Tops are an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, and carbohydrates but are slightly inferior to alfalfa haylage or corn silage for beef cattle. Tops are equal to alfalfa haylage or corn silage for sheep. Beet top silage is best fed in combination with other feeds. Tops should be windrowed in the field and allowed to wilt to 60-65% moisture before ensiling. See Morrisons Feeds and Feeding Handbook for a detailed description of the nutrient content of sugarbeet tops and roots.
C. Industrial Uses:

Molasses by-products from sugarbeet processing are used widely in the alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and bakers yeast industries. Waste lime from the processing of sugarbeets is an excellent soil amendment to increase soil pH levels. Waste lime is a good source of P & K plant nutrients. Treated processing waste water also may be used for irrigation.
III. Growth Habit:

Sugarbeet is a biennial plant which was developed in Europe in the 18th century from white fodder beets. Sugar reserves are stored in the sugarbeet root during the first growing season for an energy source during overwintering. The roots are harvested for sugar at the end of the first growing season but plants which overwinter in a mild climate will produce flowering stems and seed during the following summer and fall. Sugarbeet roots win not survive the winter in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Sugarbeet is a summertime crop in the northern United States and a winter or summer crop in more southern, semi-arid regions. Sugarbeet seed for the United States is produced in Oregon where the climate is cool enough for vernalization but warm enough for the roots to live through the winter.

The plant has a taproot system that utilizes water and soil nutrients to depths of 5 to 8 ft. As sugarbeet plants emerge, a pair of cotyledons unfold. Successive leaves develop in pairs throughout the growing season. The life expectancy of sugarbeet leaves varies from 45 to 65 days and is temperature dependent.

Photothermal induction is necessary to bring about complete reproductive development of the plant. The sugarbeet normally is a diploid plant. It is cross pollinated with wind being the effective agent.
E.S. Oplinger1, E.A. Oelke2, A.R. Kaminski1, S.M. Combs1, J.D. Doll1, and R.T. Schuler1

1Departments of Agronomy, Soil Science and Agriculture Engineering, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin–Madison, WI 53706.
2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. May, 1990.
I. History:

The castorbean plant (Ricinus communis) has been cultivated for centuries for the oil produced by its seeds. The Egyptians burned castor oil in their lamps more than 4,000 years ago.

Thought to be native to tropical Africa, the plant is a member of the spurge family. The seeds with hulls removed contain 35 to 55% oil. The seeds, leaves, and stems of the plant contain ricin and ricinine, which are poisonous to humans and animals. Eating a castorbean causes nausea, and eating several may cause death. These toxic compounds are not present in the oil.

Castorbeans are grown on a limited scale in the United States. Demand for the crop peaked in the early 1950s, when the federal government wished to increase supplies of castor oil for military applications in the event of a national emergency. The government guaranteed farmers, particularly in the Southwest, ten cents per pound for the seeds, which were grown under contract with castor oil processors.

The castorbean plant grows well in soil of medium texture. It is best adapted to southeastern Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and parts of Oklahoma and Texas. With irrigation, it also grows well in the Southwest.
II. Uses

In the United States, castor oil has been used by the military in aircraft lubricants, hydraulic fluids, and in the manufacture of explosives. It has also been used in the synthesis of soaps, linoleum, printer's ink, nylon, varnishes, enamels, paints, and electrical insulations. Textile scientists have used sulphonated castor oil in the dyeing and finishing of fabrics and leather. The most infamous application of castor oil may have been as a purgative popular for the treatment or prevention of many ailments in the first half of the twentieth century.

Castorbean meal is included as a protein source in feed for swine. Castorbean pomace, or meal, the residue left after the oil has been extracted from the seeds, has been included in mixed fertilizer. This product contains the ricin and ricinine from the seeds. Certain varieties of castorbean plants are grown as ornamentals.
III. Growth Habits:

In the tropics, the castorbean plant is a perennial. It is grown as an annual in temperate regions, however, requiring a growing season of 140 to 180 days.

Germination is slow. Seedlings will emerge 10 to 21 days after planting. Commercial varieties grow to a height of 3 to 10 ft.

The plant consists of several stems or branches, each terminated by a spike. The mature spike is six to 12 in. long. In some varieties, female flowers are on the upper part of the spike and male flowers on the lower part. Other varieties have male and female flowers interspersed on the spike. Varieties with spikes of only female flowers have made possible the production of hybrid seed. Male flowers drop off the spike after pollination.

The lower spikes on the plant mature first, followed by the upper spikes. Each spike bears 15 to 80 capsules, which may be prickly or smooth on the outer surface. The capsules, which develop from the female flowers, contain three seeds each and explode when ripe.

The seeds may be egg-shaped, oblong, or round, usually with an enlargement on one end, called the caruncle. Seeds vary in size, but most commercial varieties average 1,000 to 1,500 seeds/lb.

The plant is not a legume, as its name would imply. It has no soil-improving value other than that of any rotation crop.


P.R. Carter1, E.A. Oelke2, A.R. Kaminski1, C.V. Hanson2, S.M. Combs1, J.D. Doll1, G.L. Worf1, and E.S. Oplinger1

1Departments of Agronomy, Soil Science, and Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706.
2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. September, 1990.
I. History:

German beermakers have been using wild hop (Humulus lupulus L.) to flavor their brew for hundreds of years. Hop was introduced to the United States from England in 1629. The first commercial hop yard in the United States was established in New York in 1808. Cultivation of the crop rapidly spread south and west. Wisconsin became a major producer of hop for a brief period late in the nineteenth century, but New York remained the leader until the crop was virtually wiped out in both states by downy mildew in the 1920s.

Today, the Yakima Valley in Washington produces about 75% of the hop grown in the United States. The combined total production of Washington, Oregon and Idaho (the major producing states) exceeds 50 million pounds annually. Hop is produced on a limited scale in the Upper Midwest for local markets.

Improved varieties have been selected for resistance to downy mildew, adaptation to mechanical harvesting, and brewing characteristics.
II. Uses:

The manufacture of beer utilizes 98% of the world's production of hop. Before the days of pasteurization, brewers used hop for its antibiotic properties as well as its flavor. In some countries the young shoots are eaten as a boiled vegetable.

The female "cone," which contains the small flowers and later the fruits, has resin glands which produce lupulin. Lupulin contains the essential oils and resins that give the hop its aroma and beer its bitter flavor. The alpha acids in the resin contribute to the bitter components and constitute 4.5 to 7% of the weight of the dried hop in most domestic varieties and 8 to 12% in some English varieties. Eight to 13 oz of hop are used for each barrel of beer.
III. Growth Habits:

The hop plant is a vine that produces annual stems from a perennial crown and rootstock. The shoots, or 'bines', grow rapidly to a length of 18 to 25 ft. As the bines grow, they wind around their support in a clockwise direction, clinging with strong, hooked hairs. The leaves are dark green, hairy, heart- shaped, deeply lobed and serrate. The perennial crown becomes woody with age and produces an extensive root system. The roots may penetrate the soil to a depth of 15 ft or more.

The female flowers are borne in clusters on lateral branches. The hop plant is dioecious (male and female flowers are on separate plants). Female flowers form pale green conelike structures that are 1 to 4 in. long and papery. Seedless hop, which is considered more desirable by brewers, is produced by preventing pollination. Seedless hop weighs about 30% less than seeded hop and is more shatter-resistant at harvest.


T.M. Teynor1, D.H. Putnam2, E.S. Oplinger3, E.A. Oelke2, K.A. Kelling3, and J.D. Doll3

1Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
3Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706. Feb. 1992.
I. History:

Vernonia (Vernonia galamensis L.) or ironweed, is one of 6,500 wild plant species screened by the USDA for production of desirable seed oils. This potential oilseed crop is native to eastern Africa. There are over 1,000 species in the genus ranging from tropical herbaceous species to North American shrubs. Another vernonia species, V. anthelmintica Willd., was evaluated earlier during the 1950s for its vernolic (epoxy) acid content. Consistent problems with seed shattering, disease, and low yield of vernolic acid resulted in an end to further agronomic and breeding studies on this species. Developmental research on use of the oil and vernolic acid from Vernonia species has been conducted since the 1960s.
II. Uses:

Vernonia seed contains about 40 to 42% oil of which 73 to 80% is vernolic acid. This is about 30% more vernolic acid than the best varieties of V. anthelmintica. Products that can be made from vernonia include epoxies for manufacturing adhesives, varnishes and paints, and industrial coatings. The low viscosity of vernonia oil would allow it to be used as a nonvolatile solvent in oil-based paints since it will become incorporated in the dry paint rather than evaporating into the air. Consequently, it is possible that emissions associated with photochemical pollution can be reduced by up to 160 million pounds per year if this crop is fully exploited.

Vernonia could also serve as a natural source of plasticizers and stabilizers (binders) for producing polyvinyl chloride (PVC plastic), which currently is manufactured from petroleum. The potential use of vernonia as a petroleum substitute is important since the demand for petroleum each year in the USA is approximately 8,500 pounds per person, of which about 500 pounds per person is needed for production of plastics and industrial petrochemicals. Some vernonia species have been reported to have medicinal properties.
III. Growth Habits:

Vernonia is an annual, herbaceous plant in the Compositae (Daisy) family. This plant will not flower until the daylengths are shorter, which is typical of most tropical plants. Plants are thornless and vary in height and number of flowers. Plant habits vary from those that are 8 in. tall with a single flower head, to those with vigorous, shrubby plants with multiple stems and flower heads that may reach 9 ft in height. The stems do not branch until after the terminal flower head is formed. The lavender terminal flowers, and lateral flowers that develop in the uppermost leaf axils, have a thistle-like appearance. If sufficient moisture is present for continued growth, the lateral branches with secondary flower heads will grow above the first-formed flower head. Brown seeds develop in seed heads that are 1 in. in diameter. Leaves are alternate and sessile, and have toothed margins with taper-pointed tips and wedge-shaped bases. Leaves are 1/4 to 2 in. wide and up to 10 in. in length. In Zimbabwe (southern Africa) the crop requires five to seven months from planting seed to harvest. However, in Zambia (central Africa) the seed was mature four months after planting. Plants observed by Gilbert (1986) in eastern Africa were shorter (8 in.) and apparently matured much earlier than four months after germination.


E.S. Oplinger1, E.A. Oelke2, A.R. Kaminski1, D.H. Putnam2, T.M. Teynor3, J.D. Doll1, K.A. Kelling1, B.R. Durgan2, and D.M. Noetzel2

1Department of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706.
2Departments of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and Entomology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
3Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. July, 1991.
I. History:

Crambe (Crambe abyssinica Hochst.) is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean area. The oilseed crop contains an inedible oil used for industrial products. It has been grown in tropical and subtropical Africa, the Near East, Central and West Asia, Europe, United States, and South America. It was first used as a crop in 1933 at the Boronez Botanical Station, U.S.S.R., and has been a part of a Swedish breeding program since 1949.

Crambe was introduced to the U.S.A. by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in the 1940s. Evaluations for strains of the crop began in Texas in 1958. Crambe has since been successfully grown in several areas of the United States.
II. Uses:

The oil extracted from crambe seed is used as an industrial lubricant, a corrosion inhibitor, and as an ingredient in the manufacture of synthetic rubber. The oil contains 50 to 60% erucic acid, a long chain fatty acid, which is used in the manufacture of plastic films, plasticizers, nylon, adhesives, and electrical insulation.

Crambe is being promoted as a new domestic source of erucic acid, which has primarily come from imported rapeseed oil. Supplies of industrial rapeseed are less-plentiful since the development of varieties (Canola) that have no erucic acid content. The United States uses up to 40 million pounds of high-erucic acid oil annually mostly imported from Poland and Canada. Although rapeseed is grown domestically, crambe oil contains 8 to 9% more erucic acid than industrial rapeseed oil, and the crop is better suited to the higher rainfall areas of the U.S.

Defatted crambe seed meal can be used as a protein supplement in livestock feeds. The meal contains 25 to 35% protein when the pod is included and 46 to 58% protein when the pod is removed. It has a well balanced amino acid content and has been approved by the FDA for use in beef cattle rations for up to 5% of the daily intake.

The meal has not been approved for nonruminant rations because it may contain glucosinolates, which may be broken down in digestive systems to form harmful products that can cause liver and kidney damage, and appetite depression. Untreated, oil-free crambe meal may contain up to 10% thioglucosides, which are toxic to nonruminant animals, such as hogs and chickens. However, subjecting whole seed to moist heat before processing can deactivate the enzyme, and the glucosinolates remain intact through the oil extraction process.
III. Growth Habits:
Crambe, which is closely related to rapeseed and mustard, is an erect annual herb with numerous branches that grows to a height of 24 to 40 in. Under stress conditions plants may develop long tap roots, which later become conical. The leaves are oval shaped, but asymmetric. The leaf blade is approximately 4 in. long and 3 in. wide, with a smooth surface; the petiole is channeled, about 8 in. long, and pubescent (hairy). Crambe initially produces numerous small, white flowers in a compact group, which are later distributed on 1 to 2 ft stalks or spikes. The spherical fruits bear one seed each. The seed remains in the pod or hull at harvest. Mature fruits are dry, persistent and indehiscent. They vary in color from light green to light brown. Crambe seeds weigh approximately 0.25 oz/1,000 seeds and have a hull content of 25 to 30%.
Chickpea (garbanzo bean)

E.S. Oplinger1, L.L. Hardman2, E.A. Oelke2, A.R. Kaminski1, E.E. Schulte1, and J.D. Doll1

1Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706.
2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. May, 1990.
I. History:
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an ancient crop that has been grown in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa for many years. It may have been grown in Turkey nearly 7,400 years ago. Much of the world's chickpea supply (80 to 90%) comes from India where poor soil, use of unimproved varieties and low rainfall results in yields averaging about 700 lb/acre.

Most of the chickpea acreage in the United States (15,000 acres) is in California (8,000 acres) but certain areas of eastern Washington, parts of Idaho and Montana are now growing this crop successfully. This acreage has been increasing to provide chickpea supplies which formerly came from Mexico, which cut back chickpea production in favor of pinto bean.
II. Uses:
Chickpea is consumed as a dry pulse crop or as a green vegetable with the former use being most common. Seeds average about 20% protein, 5% fat and 55% carbohydrate.

Seeds are sold in markets either dry or canned. Common uses in United States are in soups, vegetable combinations, or as a component of fresh salads in restaurant salad bars.

Some livestock feeding trials have been conducted and these show chickpea to be a good source of protein for feeds, except that the amino acids methionine and cystine are deficient.
III. Growth Habits:
Plants are multiple branched, spreading growth habit annuals ranging from 8 to 40 in. tall. Some chickpea varieties have compound leaves (8 to 20 leaflets) and some have simple leaves, which are pubescent (hairy) in appearance. Chickpea leaves exude malic and oxalic acids.

Kabuli (large seeded = 800 seeds/lb) varieties are generally taller than the desi (small-seeded = 1,500 seeds/lb) varieties.

Because of its deep tap root system, chickpea can withstand drought conditions by extracting water from deeper in the soil profile.

Flowers (self-pollinated) which are borne in groups of two or three are 1/2 to 1 in. long and come in purple, white, pink or blue color depending upon variety. Each flower produces a short, pubescent pod which is 3/4 to 2 in. Long and which appears to be inflated. One or two seeds (1/2 to 1 in. diameter) are present in each pod. The seeds come with either rough or smooth surfaces and can be creme, yellow, brown, black or green in color. There is a definite groove visible between the cotyledons about two-thirds of the way around the seed, with a beak-like structure present.

E.S. Oplinger1, E.A. Oelke2, J.D. Doll1, L.G. Bundy1, and R.T. Schulerl

1Departments of Agronomy, Soil Science and Ag. Engineering, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin–Madison, WI 53706.
2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. Nov., 1989.
I. History:

Common flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) was one of the first crops domesticated by man. Flax is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe; the Swiss Lake Dweller People of the Stone Age apparently produced flax utilizing the fiber as well as the seed. Linen cloth made from flax was used to wrap the mummies in the early Egyptian tombs. In the United States, the early colonists grew small fields of flax for home use, and commercial production of fiber flax began in 1753. However, with the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, flax production began to decline. During the 1940's fiber flax production in the U.S. dropped to nearly zero. Today a few individuals still grow fiber flax for their own use to make linen. Presently the major fiber flax producing countries are the Soviet Union, Poland, and France. Wisconsin had 2,000 acres for seed in the state in 1966 with an average yield of 18 bushels per acre, however there has been no acreage reported in recent years. Minnesota had 378,000 acres in 1920 and over 1,600,000 acres in 1943. Since 1943 acreage has steadily declined with only 15,000 acres grown in 1988. The state average yield was 9.5 bushels per acre in 1920, while in 1987 it was 16 bushels. The yield dropped to 10 bushels per acre in 1988 due to dry conditions. States having the largest seed flax acreages are North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Flax is an alternative cash crop, especially in areas of Wisconsin and Minnesota where allocated acreages for other cash crops are limited or where other crops are not adapted. At one time the flax acreage was concentrated on the clay soils in eastern Wisconsin. However, flax is adapted and has been successfully grown in other areas of the state. In Minnesota, flax acreage is concentrated in the northwestern part, however flax has been grown successfully in nearly all counties.
II. Uses:
A. Industrial Uses:

Flax is still produced in the United States for its oil rich seed. Linseed oil has been used as a drying agent for paints, varnishes, lacquer, and printing ink. Unfortunately these markets have eroded somewhat over the years with the production of synthetic resins and latex. One bright spot in the market has been the use of linseed oil as an antispalling treatment for concrete where freezing and thawing effects have created problems on streets and sidewalks. Occasionally the straw is harvested and used to produce some paper products.
B. Livestock Feed:

Linseed oil meal is an excellent protein source for livestock containing about 35% crude protein. Flax straw on the other hand, makes a very poor quality forage because of its high cellulose and lignin content. Green flax straw should not be grazed or fed as it is high in prussic acid. The danger of prussic acid poisoning is greater immediately following a freeze.
C. Human Food:

Recently there has been some interest in seed flax as a health food because of its high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the oil (Table 1).

Table 1: Oil and Mineral compostion of flaxseed.1

Character measured    Mean2    Mineral
element    Mean2
    % of seed         %
Oil in seed    40.3    K    0.89
Fatty acid    % of total fatty acids     P    0.60
Linolenic    49.3    Mg    0.33
Linoleic    14.7    Ca    0.21
Oleic    24.1    Na    0.04
Stearic    4.3        ppm
Palmitic    6.1    Zn    56.9
    Number     Fe    46.2
Iodine value of oil    179.3    Mn    32.0
    B    11.5
    Cu    9.5
    Sr    1.4
    Mo    0.7
1Adapted from "Growing Seed Flax in the North Central States"
2Shown on oven–dry basis

III. Growth Habits:

Seed flax is an annual plant that grows to a height of 12 to 36 inches. It has a distinct main stem with numerous branches at the top which produce flowers. Branches from the base of the plant may also occur depending on variety, stand, and environment. The plant has a branched taproot system which may extend to a depth of 3 to 4 feet in coarse textured soil. Spring-sown varieties of the North Central region are less cold tolerant, exhibit less basal branching, and grow more upright in the seedling stage than fall-sown varieties of Texas and southern California.

The flax flower has five petals and a five-celled boll or capsule, which may contain up to 10 seeds when filled. Under most conditions an average of six to eight seeds per boll is normal. Some varieties produce bolls that tend to split open from the apex in varying degrees, whereas other varieties have bolls that remain tightly closed. Varieties with tight bolls suffer less weather damage to ripe seeds and resist shattering better than varieties with split bolls. Most current commercial seed flax varieties have semitight bolls.

Flax is normally self-pollinated, but insects cause some natural crossing. Frequency of cross pollination seems to be associated with varietal differences and environmental conditions. Individual flowers open in the first few hours after sunrise on clear, warm days, and the petals usually fall before noon. Most commercial varieties have blue petals. Petals may also be white or different shades of purple, blue or pink. The seeds may be various shades of yellow, brown, greenish-yellow, greenish-brown, or nearly black. Seed color of most commercial varieties is light brown.

Flax is an excellent companion crop to help establish small seeded grasses and legumes. Plant characteristics that favor its use as a companion crop are (1) limited leaf area and short stature which allow much light to reach the forage seedlings, (2) early maturity, and (3) less extensive root system than many crops which reduces competition for soil moisture.

Flax in Wisconsin and Minnesota is a spring annual with a 90 to 110 day growing season. The typical life cycle consists of a 45 to 60 day vegetative period, followed by a 15 to 25 day tlowering period, and 30 to 40 day maturation period. Proper harvest time is important in flax production. Early harvest reduces yield while late harvest can change the chemical make-up of the oil and thus its quality and value.
IV. Environment Requirements:
A. Climate:

The concentration of flax acreage in the North Central states is in part due to the large acreage of fertile land suitable for flax and a lack of other competing crops with more favorable economic returns. The North Central area also has moderate summer temperatures and rainfall which is sufficient but not excessive for good flaxseed yields. Flax yields tend to decrease as precipitation diminishes. Annual rainfall ranges from 30 inches in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota to 15 inches in eastern Montana. More important than total rainfall is the amount of precipitation that falls during the growing period. Adequate moisture and relatively cool temperatures, particularly during the period from flowering to maturity, seem to favor both high oil content and high oil quality.

Jerusalem Artichoke

D.R. Cosgrove1, E.A. Oelke2, J.D. Doll3, D.W. Davis2, D.J. Undersander>3, and E.S. Oplinger3

1Department of Plant and Earth Sciences, University of Wisconsin - River Falls, WI 54022.
2Departments of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Horticulture, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
3Departinents of Agronomy and Soil Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706. March, 1991.
I. History:

Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) is familiar to many as a weed, but has some potential as a crop plant. Native to the central regions of North America, the plant can be grown successfully throughout the U.S. under a variety of temperature and rainfall regimes. Several North American Indian tribes used Jerusalem artichoke as food prior to the arrival of European settlers. The explorer Champlain took Jerusalem artichokes from North America to France in 1605. By the mid 1600s it was widely used as a human food and livestock feed there.

In France, the artichoke is called "topinambour," although the word "Jerusalem" has several explanations. The artichoke became a staple food for North American pilgrims and was thought of as a new feed in a "new Jerusalem." A second theory is that the word Jerusalem is a twisting of the Italian word for sunflower-girasol. One additional explanation involves a 17th century gardener named Petrus Hondins of Ter-Heusen, Holland who was known to distribute his artichoke apples throughout Europe. Ter-Heusen was modified to Jerusalem in the United States. In recent years the fresh tubers have been widely marketed in the U.S., but in quite limited quantities.
II. Uses:

The plant can be grown for human consumption, alcohol production, fructose production and livestock feed.
A. Human Food:

Similar to water chestnuts in taste, the traditional use of the tuber is as a gourmet vegetable. Jerusalem artichoke tubers resemble potatoes except the carbohydrates composing 75 to 80% of the tubers are in the form of inulin rather than starch. Once the tubers are stored in the ground or refrigerated, the inulin is converted to fructose and the tubers develop a much sweeter taste. Dehydrated and ground tubers can be stored for long periods without protein and sugar deterioration. Tubers can be prepared in ways similar to potatoes. In addition, they can be eaten raw, or made into flour, or pickled. They are available commercially under several names, including sunchokes and lambchokes.
B. Alcohol Production:

In France the artichoke has been used for wine and beer production for many years. Ethanol and butanol, two fuel grade alcohols, can be produced from Jerusalem artichokes. The cost of producing ethanol currently is not competitive with gasoline prices, and therefore the success of ethanol plants has been limited.
C. Fructose Production:

About 50% of the 12 million tons of sugar consumed annually by Americans is grown and produced in the United States. Fructose is more soluble in water than sucrose, so fructose provides a more desirable syrup. In addition, it is 1.5 times sweeter than sucrose and can be consumed safely by diabetics.

The majority of domestically produced fructose is obtained from corn. Although the Jerusalem artichoke is a viable fructose source, the U.S. sugar industry has been hesitant in utilizing it because farmers have been concerried with its potential as a weed problem, and because it requires extra planting and harvesting equipment along with storage difficulties.
D. Forage Production:

The quality of artichoke tops make them a suitable livestock feed, but the forage quality has no advantage over other forage crops and should be classified as a maintenance feed. Both crude protein and digestible protein concentrations are low when compared with alfalfa (Table 1). Artichoke tops are superior in TDN to the perennial forages listed, but it has less TDN than corn silage.

Optimal forage quality can be obtained by harvesting tops during mid September when protein levels will be at their maximum. However, tuber yields will be reduced at this time (Table 2). The smaller size may make the tubers unharvestable. For greater tuber production it is more advantageous to harvest the tops after a hard frost. Protein levels in the forage will be reduced, but will still provide an acceptable feed. Roots, tubers and tops can be fed as a combined ration. Tops can be fed fresh or ensiled, although the forage does not ensile well because of its high concentration of soluble sugars and high moisture content. The potential advantage of the crop for forage may arise from the fact that it adapts well to a wide variety of soils and habitats.


D.H. Putnam1, E.S. Oplinger2, L.L. Hardman1, and J.D. Doll2

1Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
2Department of Agronomy, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin–Madison, WI 53706. Nov., 1989.
I. History:

Lupine cultivation is at least 2,000 years old and most likely began in Egypt or in the general Mediterranean region. The lupine plant, like other grain legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) fixes atmospheric nitrogen, and produces seed high in protein. There are over 300 species of the genus Lupinus (L.), but many have high levels of alkaloids (bitter tasting compounds) that make the seed unpalatable and sometimes toxic. Historically, lupine alkaloids have been removed from the seed by soaking. But plant breeders in the 1920's in Germany produced the first selections of alkaloidfree or "sweet" lupine, which can be directly consumed by humans or livestock. White lupine (L. albus L.), yellow lupine (L. luteus), and blue or narrow-leafed lupine (L. angustifolius) are cultivated as crops. Lupines are currently grown as a forage and grain legume in USSR, Poland, Germany, the Mediterranean, and as a cash crop in Australia, where it is exported to the European seed markets. Both winter-hardy and non-hardy types are available.
II. Uses:
A. Nutritional Value:

Sweet white lupine is high in protein (32–38%), low in oil (10%), TDN (75–80%), and does not contain trypsin inhibitors. The seed can be fed directly without heat treatment and has been successfully fed to turkeys, calves, lambs, swine and lactating dairy cattle. Methionine is a limiting amino acid and may be required in rations for poultry and swine.

When animals graze lupine stubble, a disease called lupinosis can develop. It is caused by a mycotoxin. Symptoms are loss of appetite and jaundice. Lupinosis has been a problem in sheep grazing in Australia and in Europe.
B. Dairy:

In Minnesota trials, a complete replacement of soybean meal with lupine meal for dairy cows resulted in a reduced feed intake and a slight reduction in milk production. The current recommendation is that lupine can replace up to 65% of the soybean meal (10% of the total mix) in a diet. Calves fed ground lupine as the only supplemental protein source in starter diets showed no decrease in production compared to a soybean meal diet.
C. Lambs:

Lambs fed whole lupine seed grew at the same rate as lambs consuming soybean meal at the same level of protein, indicating that lupine can replace up to 100% of the soybean meal in lamb diets.
D. Swine:

Current Minnesota recommendations are that white lupines are unacceptable for growing pigs (under 225 lbs). A 1988 Minnesota study reported a 2% reduction in feed intake for each 1% lupine in the diet. This translated directly into a reduction in gain. Pigs are quite sensitive to alkaloids and palatability can be a problem when alkaloid levels exceed 0.04% of diet dry matter (most sweet lupines are less than 0.03%). Even at this level, feed intake of lupine diets can be severely reduced due to a problem with palatability. Better feeding has resulted from using the yellow and blues lupine species.
E. Poultry:

Turkey rations containing up to 15% lupine in the diet have not decreased production compared with soybean meal diets. Larger quantities result in reduced feed intake and gain, probably because of fiber content. Methionine should be added as a supplement.
F. Food for Humans:

The United States has a developing specialty human food market for lupine in the form of lupine flour, lupine pasta, and hulls for dietary fiber. Sweet lupines have been shown to increase the protein and fiber crops in conjunction with durum wheat in specialty pastures, and to be an excellent source of white-colored fiber, as an additive to breads and cereals.
III. Growth Habit:

The growth habit of lupine is different from other grain legumes. Emergence is epigeal (cotyledons emerge above ground before development of true leaves), and early seedling growth is considerably slower than later vegetative stages. Maximum vegetative growth rate occurs during flowering. The main stem and each branch usually terminate in an inflorescence, which is a simple raceme with varying numbers of flowers. Even aher the main stem flowering has ceased, the plant can develop lateral secondary as well as tertiary flower sets from a sequence of lateral branches. Species and cultivars differ in ability to set pods on these secondary and tertiary branches. The process is highly influenced by environmental conditions.

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