Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zurich-Reckenholz

Poppy, an alternative plant

Poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an ancient crop plant. The pressed seeds provide valuable edible oil. Field trials in the last three years showed, that poppy needs an accurate cultivation. Seed yield ranged between 2 and 17 dt/ha depending on variety and location. Yield of 10 dt/ha should be possible if cultivation occurs under good conditions. Recommendable varieties were identified. Oil content of the seeds is about 30 to 40 % by using cold pressure. Due to its high oil content, poppy is one of the most oil-rich plants. The oil consists of 70 to 75 % of linoleic acid and can be compared with the oil of sunflower or safflower. Further research is needed in terms of fertilisation and weed control, if oil poppy should be cultivated extensively. Poppy could be an interesting alternative in oil production especially as a niche product.

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