Thursday, November 23, 2006

Got corn?

According to recent statements from Robert Wisner, ag economist from Iowa State, if all the proposed ethanol plants in Iowa come on line as planned, we Iowa farmers will need to grow 8 million more acres of corn in 2008 to supply the ethanol plants and livestock.

8 million more acres of corn in Iowa for 2008? We can shift some soybean acres to corn, but not a great amount. Some will come out of CRP, but I can't see enough A) yield) and B) acres coming from there to make a big dent.

As I have a seed production background, I started thinking about the need for seed corn in 2008. At 2.75 acres per unit (about 50 lbs, or 80,000 kernels) of seed corn, about 2.9 million units of extra seed corn would need to be produced?

Ever heard of Garst, Asgrow, Mycogen, or Golden Harvest seed companies? Take any two of them, add them together, and you have about 2.9 million unit production per year.

Pioneer has lost a lot of market share in the last few years to companies such as listed above. So, they have extra capacity to make up the extra demand...that is if you wanted to plant Pioneer.

Anyway, probably not all of the ethanol plants will be built, so the demand for corn may not be as high as Wisner predicts. However, the demand will still be higher than in the past, and we may not shift as many corn acres as needed. Iowa becomes a net IMPORTER of corn? Could happen...


Anonymous kmacis said...

I was told nearly 20 years ago, by a then Chemical Engineering student that the US could not grow enough corn to replace imported oil with ethanol. I am more convinced every year that she was right. The yeild increases that farmers saw when seed corn switched to hybirds will likely not happen again, even with more advanced genetics we are seeing today. (Even if we could get the rest of the world to accept the genitic manipulated seed.) We need to look at alot of other things to get a useable and economical fuel. (Other plants, manure, etc.)

12:31 PM, November 27, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Totally agree with you - corn cannot produce enough ethanol, nor soybeans enough bio-diesel. They are not the end solution for bio-energy by any means. New technologies will need to be developed and expanded to do so.

12:36 PM, November 27, 2006  

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