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October 18, 1998
Canola the Old-Fashioned Way

Prior to the widespread availability of electricity in the Canola patch, the oldtime roughnecks used to pump the oil out of the plants with wind power. As utility prices rise, many of today's growers look at the bottom line and wonder why it wouldn't work again.

Not so simple! For one thing, the cross-section of today's high-tech micro-tubule taps is very much smaller than that of yesteryear's "drinking straws" (a sidenote: they really were made from the same stock as drinking straws: the tubing was just spooled onto giant reels instead of being cut to 10" lengths!) As a result, the pumping power necessary has risen exponentially. Though some may claim that windspeed has done likewise, research shows this not to be the case.

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