Rog (egosumquisum) wrote in farmers,

Harvesting oil crops on small acreage

I have a small 7-acre field in central Texas and I want to plant with some flavor of experimental oil crop such as canola, sunflower, soybeans, or peanuts. All of these crops CAN grow in the soil type I have, the problem is the machinery available to plant and harvest. I plan to purchase my own small oil press to press the oil to use in diesel engines.

I have access to a tractor to do the plowing and planting but I have no idea how to effectively harvest 7 acres with only a small 35-50HP tractor. What oil-bearing crops can be harvested mechanically without the use of a large combine? Can pull-type PTO combines still be found that can harvest crops like canola, sunflower, soybeans or peanuts? There are no local farmers who have combines that are setup to do this kind of harvesting which can be borrowed or who will bother lending or renting their combines for such small acreage.

I need a machine and oil crop combination that can effectively be planted and harvested with only a 35-50HP tractor and implements that can be used on said tractor. I want to use no other outside resources whatsoever such as a centralized pressing plant or renting any large equipment. I've seen peanuts harvested with smaller tractors but its very difficult to maintain self-sufficiency when you have to rely on expensive additives to keep the field inoculated.

What crop/implement combination would you recommend if you wanted to maximize oil production on only 7 acres without using large machinery or relying on a lot of external inputs apart from seed? I'd like to avoid having to hire manual labor pickers as an option as well since I dont like supporting illegal immigration, but if theres no way to harvest the crop without using a $250k combine, that may have to be an option.
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