Farmers grow oil crops. Farmers use oil in their trucks and tractors. With few exceptions, the missing link in that equation has been getting someone to refine oil seeds into something that's as functional and affordable as petroleum-based products. Cenex, a division of CHS Cooperatives, thinks it has the answer with its soy-based diesel fuels and Biomax line of lubricants.

“As an agricultural cooperative, we're constantly looking for new uses for our members' products,” says Cenex Lubricants marketing manager Bernie Elliott. “A typical tractor hydraulic fluid change with Biomax THF will use the oil from 2.5 bu. or more of canola.” Elliot points out that the cost of crop-based hydraulic fluid is just $0.50 more per gallon than the cost of conventional products.

In the future, soybeans, sunflowers and even corn oil might be used in the Biomax line of Cenex lubricants. Elliott says all products in the line will use domestically grown and processed crops. The cooperative also is augmenting fuel with crop-based esters. Ruby Fieldmaster, Roadmaster and Wintermaster diesel fuels now have soy in them to reduce emissions and add lubricity.

Elliot says that in addition to being good for local rural economies, crop-based oils are safer for the environment than petroleum. “Biomax THF, for example, meets all the performance requirements of original equipment manufacturers, yet is 50% more biodegradable than conventional hydraulic fluids,” he says.

For more information, contact Cenex Lubricants, Box 64089, St. Paul, MN 55164, 800/852-8186, www.cenex.com.