Canola from North Dakota farmers could be the next source for biodiesel for aircraft. Researchers in the northern plains have been exploring the oilseed’s possibility to fill aviation fuel tanks since 2011.

The Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan is one of eight locations testing different plant products for biofuels. The focus here has been on oilseeds such as canola, rapeseed camelina and mustard — “all crops that grow well in wheat-producing areas,” soil scientist Dave Archer said.

The scientists at Great Plains have just finished their first year of field trials and are waiting for the second round of fall-planted canola to come up, Archer said.

The oilseed varieties are being judged on their economic and environmental impacts, he said. Researchers are trying to find varieties not used for food that fit into existing crop rotations and that improve soil quality…

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