Friday, June 3, 2011

Safflower, safflower oil, Carthamus tinctorius

Safflower is an annual herb, native of Mediterranean countries and  known to humans at least  for 4000 years.
Originally it was grown mainly for it's flowers, a source of yellow and red (carthamin) dyes, though Ancient Chinese were using it's oil for a variety of things, like candle making, etc.
Because safflower has a similar color with saffron, it was  often used  to make fake saffron,  thus one of the safflower's nicknames is "Bastard's saffron". Other nicks are "Mexican saffron", "dyer's saffron" and "False saffron".
Now safflower is mostly grown for it's oil, though  there is still a demand  for it's flowers in many regions.
The oil in safflower contains almost 75%  linoleic acid, which is  higher than soybean, corn, cottonseed, peanut or olive oils. This type of safflower is used primarily for edible oil products such as salad oils and soft margarines. Scientists  disagree on whether oils high in polyunsaturated acids, like linoleic acid, can decrease blood cholesterol and the related heart and circulatory problems. Still, 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 semi drying 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 may also be used as a diesel fuel substitute, but as other vegetable oils, is currently too cost-prohibitive for this use.
The meal that remains after oil extraction is used as a protein supplement for livestock. The meal usually contains  24% protein and a lot of  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 on safflower and stubble fields after the  harvest.
In 2009,  646 427 tonnes of safflower seeds were produced by 23 countries. Over the last 50 years, world production of safflower seeds grew by about 100%.  Highest ever  crop of safflowers was in 1979, when 1 110 535 tons were produced. Lowest crop since 1961 was in 1961, when 326 997 tons were produced.
Land usage decreased by 1% since 1961. In 2009, crop of safflower used  752 455 hectares of land , which is about 0,048% of all arable land in the world.
Biggest producer in the world is India with 189 000 tons as of 2009.
Biggest producer per capita is Kazakhstan  with  4.36 kg of safflower seeds produced as of 2009.
As much as 95 grams of safflower seeds were produced per potential consumer of 2009. That is almost 500 calories.
World safflower seed crop could supply as much as  4.6 million people with 2000 calories a day,  and there is enough of protein for 5.7 million people.
Best  average worldwide yields were 961.8 kg per hectare in 1998, worst, since 1961-- 431.8  kg/ha ( 1961). Individual record belongs to USA  2447.2 kg per hectare in 1971.
Almost 19 000 tonnes were used as seed in 2009.
Average price for safflower seed is $550-700 per ton as of today.
Production of safflower seed by country:

Safflower seed
58000 33480 86991
Safflower seed
2040 2104
Safflower seed
Safflower seed
32000 32500F 34000F
Safflower seed
11176 8075 5552*
Safflower seed
83 237 59
Safflower seed
240000 225000 189000
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Safflower seed
Safflower seed
0F 0F 0F
Safflower seed
43940 45740 67000*
Safflower seed
12039 12830 14636
Safflower seed
113334 96413 95000F
Safflower seed

Occupied Palestinian Territory
Safflower seed
5 3 3F
Safflower seed
49 60 65
Safflower seed

Russian Federation
Safflower seed
40 580 350
Safflower seed
24 30F 35F
Safflower seed
1036 562 600F
Safflower seed
2280 7068 20076
United Republic of Tanzania
Safflower seed
United States of America
Safflower seed
95547 140810 109756
Safflower seed
3500F 3621Im3133Im
World + (Total)
Safflower seed
627189A 622993A 646427A
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1 comment:

  1. I don't know that as of today the average price for safflower seed is $550-700 per ton. Finally I found a protein for livestock supplements called safflower. Thank you for letting me know.