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

Safflower oil production in Switzerland

Safflower oil is a well established edible oil produced out of the grain of Carthamus tinctorius. In Switzerland, there is no tradition cultivating safflower, event though the plant is adapted to our climate. Within a three-year project, we tested the cultivation of various varieties of safflower Together with the University of Hohenheim, we examined different provenances form gene banks. The field trials showed that Safflower is an undemanding oil plant well adapted to aridity. Grain yields between 20 and 30 dt/ha are possible. Oil content is low, as mostly less than 20 % are pressed out. Using cold pressure, about 300 litres per hectare can be expected. Breeding activities for Safflower have been very low. They would however be necessary to increase oil content and tolerances for diseases. Thus, profitability of the cultivation of safflower could be increased. We identified some interesting provenances for breeding.

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