- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

FLASHER, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s first crop of jet fuel is showing promise.

Farmers in the western part of the state this year planted 6,000 acres of a mustard seed variety known as carinata, which can be made into jet fuel, for Canadian seed producer Agrisoma Biosciences. About one-fourth of the crop has now been harvested, and yields are slightly above average despite the extreme heat that some of the fields endured, company spokesman Garret Groves told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1EWqR2c ).

“For the most part, things have been pretty promising,” he said. “Thirty bushels (per acre) is a pretty good average.”

A potential customer for the crop is the U.S Navy, which is targeting carinata to help reach its goal of serving half of its energy needs with non-oil sources by 2020.

Carinata looks similar to the oilseed canola, but a little bushier. It was grown in fields near Flasher, Mott, New Leipzig and Tioga.

Wes Frederick planted 100 acres of carinata at his farm in Flasher. The fact that the seeds don’t fall out of their shells easily and that it can grow in drier areas influenced his decision to add the crop to his operation that usually includes sunflowers, wheat and corn.

“I’m always looking for something different,” he said. “It works great in our rotation.”

The company has a goal of 50,000 acres next year. Agrisoma likely will start signing contracts in October through the end of November, according to Groves.

“We’ve had a fair amount more interest this year going into next year,” he said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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