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Successful Castor Beans for Biodiesel Trial in Brazil

24 September 2013

BRAZIL - Plant genomics company, Evogene says subsidiary Evofuel has completed three years of successful field trials in Brazil for the development of castor bean as an alternative feedstock for production of biodiesel and other industrial uses.

The field trials were conducted in cooperation with agriculture business SLC Agrícola, one of Brazil’s largest landowners, and demonstrated strong yield performance of Evofuel’s proprietary castor seed varieties under rain-fed conditions in northeast Brazil.

Evofuel, based on these results, expects to initiate commercialisation of its proprietary castor seeds in 2016, following advanced product development and pre-commercial trials which are targeted to begin next year.

The collaboration with SLC is aimed at developing castor as a rotation crop with soyabean. Being grown during a period in which rainfall levels are typically not sufficient to cultivate other crops, castor production under this model does not compete with the production of staple crops.

"These results are especially encouraging as the past two years were relatively dry, with approximately 50 per cent of the average rainfall," says Assaf Oron, Evofuel general manager.

SLC operates over 280,000 hectares of soybeans, corn and cotton across Brazil and Evofuel estimates that, under the soybean rotation model and leveraging SLC’s footprint, the potential land area in Brazil for economically viable commercial production of castor seeds is over five million hectares.

TheCropSite News Desk

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