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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Oil Crops:

  • Arable Farms
  • Small holdings
  • Oils for cooking, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and more

It's easy to enrol...

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Learn to Grow Oil Crops:

  • For Arable Farming
  • On Small holdings
  • or anywhere else

Plant oils are used for:

  • Edible oils
  • Biofuels
  • Cosmetics, personal hygiene and pharmaceuticals
  • Cleaning products, lubricants, repellents and more

What can this course do for you?

Develop a broader and deeper understanding of plants that are viable to grow for oil production

Make better choices about what to grow and how to grow it, in a more holistic understanding of not only how different crop options are grown, but how they are processed, managed (post harvest) and marketed.



This course has nine lessons:

Lesson 1: Nature & scope of oil crops

  • What are plant oils?
  • Essential oils
  • Plant oil crops & uses
  • Vegetable oil uses
  • Essential oil uses
  • Economic value of oil crops
  • What crops can be grown where?

Lesson 2: Oil Extraction

  • Introduction
  • Oil seed processing
  • Mechanical processing
  • Chemical processing
  • Other processing methods
  • Distillation
  • Simple distillation
  • Steam distillation
  • Fractional distillation
  • Vacuum distillation
  • Molecular distillation
  • Extractive distillation
  • Membrane distillation

Lesson 3: Canola and Rapeseed

  • Characteristics of canola
  • World production
  • Growing canola
  • Using seed
  • Soil types
  • Soil preparation
  • Sowing
  • Growth stages
  • Environmental stresses
  • Nutrition
  • Irrigation management
  • Weeds
  • Pest control
  • Diseases
  • Harvesting
  • Storage
  • Processing

Lesson 4: Olive Oil

  • Characteristics of olive oil
  • World production
  • Growing olives
  • Using seedlings
  • Soil types
  • Soil preparation
  • Planting
  • Pruning
  • Growing conditions
  • Varieties
  • Nutrition
  • Irrigation management
  • Weeds
  • Pest control
  • Diseases
  • Organic production
  • Harvesting
  • Storage
  • Processing

Lesson 5: Other Edible Oils

  • Growing conditions
  • Organic matter
  • Soil texture
  • Subsoil PH
  • Soil water available to plants
  • Slope of the topography
  • Natural soil drainage
  • Maintaining good soil structure
  • Growing edible oil crops
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)
  • Flax/linseed (Linum usitatissimum)
  • Soybean/soya bean (Glycine max)
  • Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea)

Lesson 6: Herbal and pharmaceutical oils

  • Introduction
  • Pros and cons of herbal medicine & nutraceuticals
  • Essential oils
  • General guidelines for growing herbs for essential oils
  • Planting
  • Agronomy
  • Improved herbs and essential oils
  • Growing select crops for cosmetic or pharmaceutical oils
  • Avocado (Persea americana)
  • Mint (Mentha arvensis)
  • Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum)
  • Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis)

Lesson 7: Biofuel and other Industrial Oils

  • Biofuel production
  • Vegetable oils and genetic modification
  • Extraction of oils from plants
  • GMO crops
  • Oleic acid
  • Oil palm trees
  • Novel fatty acids
  • Chemical and biotechnological transformations of basic industrial oils
  • Key targets for future industrial oil crops
  • Unusual fatty acids
  • Industrial importance
  • Growing select crops for biofuels and other industrial uses
  • Poppy (Papaver somniferum)
  • Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
  • Camelina (Camelina sativa)
  • Crambe (Crambe abyssinica)

Lesson 8: Issues, Risks, Optimising success

  • Successful farming
  • Capital
  • Profitability
  • Risk management
  • Succession
  • Entrepreneurial skills of farmers
  • Production management
  • Developing a farming business plan
  • Goals and mission
  • Asset planning
  • Land
  • Irrigation water
  • Livestock
  • Farm management
  • Labour and machinery
  • Capital
  • Soil testing
  • Produce selection
  • Integrated pest management
  • Integrated weed management
  • Grain storage

Lesson 9: Product Development and Management

  • Oilseed production and extraction yields
  • Oil fatty acid composition and biodiesel
  • Oil extraction and biodiesel processing
  • On-farm oil seed processing


Learning is a Process

You can read a book about oil crops but reading alone doesn't ensure you remember or remain alert to what you read.

This course is a carefully designed learning journey, fashioned to take you through a series of encounters with oil producing plants, gradually building, then reinforcing and deepening your understanding and awareness of the subject so that you will eventually appreciate and remember how to grow and manage oil crops for many years beyond completing these studies.


The biggest choice confronting any grower is what species and cultivars to grow. Making such a decision must always start with knowing the options to consider. Some crops can be eliminated from consideration quickly, because they do not suit the locality, or the economic viability of that crop in the market is poor.

Taking this course can be a way to fast track your awareness of the options, and your capacity to make better, faster choices of what to grow.

Consider costs of production and processing in particular. You might be considering integrating oil crops into an existing farm growing system by way of crop rotations, or perhaps changing direction towards growing only oilseed crops. Maybe you have plans to start a new oilseed farm or you are a farm manager looking at new opportunities. Whatever the situation, having a good idea about costs is necessary to minimise risks and make wise decisions.


Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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