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Articles from 2012 In June


Mississippi peanut acres highest since 1943

Mississippi farmers have planted 50,000 acres of peanuts this season, many of them growing the crop for the first time. While the crop was making good progress at the end of June, abnormally hot, dry weather was a concern for growers in many areas, according to reports at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation's Peanut summer peanut commodity meeting.

Avian influenza outbreak confirmed in Mexico

Mexican veterinary authorities are confirming this week there has been an outbreak of avian influenza near Guadalajara that has caused the death of nearly a quarter million chickens since early June and so far has forced a quarantine zone around three poultry processing facilities in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

In a follow-up report submitted to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Mexican animal health officials said intravenous pathogenicity tests revealed a highly pathogenic H7N3 subtype that is the cause of the current outbreak. Mexican veterinary authorities are intensifying avian influenza control efforts in the region, which houses several large commercial farms.

The event represents the first highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks in Mexican flocks since the country battled H5N2 in the mid 1990s.

The outbreaks began at three large commercial farms in Jalisco state on Jun 13, causing clinical signs in the layer flocks that included gasping, lethargy, fever, and death. The disease sickened 587,160 of more than 1 million susceptible birds, killing nearly 220,000 of them.

Problem in U.S.

Outbreaks of avian influenza A occur among U.S. poultry flocks from time to time. Since early February 2004, avian influenza outbreaks have been reported in several locations in the United States, most recently in Texas in 2004 when a highly pathogenic H5N2 strain was discovered at a poultry facility in Gonzales County.

Dr. Marty Ficken, resident director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Gonzales, says avian influenza viruses typically do not infect humans; however, several instances of human infections and outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported since 1997. It is believed that most cases of avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. Other means of transmission also are possible, such as the virus becoming aerosolized and landing on exposed surfaces of the mouth, nose, or eyes, or being inhaled into the lungs.

“There is the potential for these types of viruses to spread to the human population but they usually do not cause a disease of consequence. Unlike many viruses, human infections of avian A type are generally limited to mild flu-like symptoms,” he said.

He says the threat of this outbreak reaching Texas and New Mexico is very low, citing USDA import requirements and border inspections as adequate defense. But he suggests transmission could be possible by the illegal import of live poultry or egg shells contaminated with the pathogen.

All poultry imported from all countries except Canada must be quarantined for at least 30 days at a USDA Animal Import Center and be accompanied by import permits and veterinary health certificates. Canadian poultry entering the United States must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued within 30 days of import date.

Egg shell risk

“Vertical transmission is lacking, but infected material on an egg shell could spread the virus under the right conditions. But a comprehensive program of quarantine that regulates movement will also include destroying both poultry and eggs and sanitizing areas within the quarantine zone,” he added.

Ficken says the greatest threat is to the poultry industry because highly pathogenic strains of influenza A can spread rapidly and destroy a great number of birds. But he says safeguards at Texas poultry facilities are ever diligent as routine testing and observation is ongoing. In Texas, substantial poultry facilities are located in Gonzales, Waco, Amarillo, and scattered through other areas of the state.  

According to the latest update from Mexico’s animal health officials, based on the latest test results, authorities are sampling birds at about 60 poultry farms near the outbreak area, and quarantine measures are under way in the region, which has about 500 production units. Full gene sequencing and an epidemiologic investigation to determine the source of the virus are also in progress according to Mexican health officials.

Jalisco state, in western Mexico, is the country's top egg producer. Officials have also limited poultry movements near the outbreak area and are testing birds at commercial farms, backyard flocks, and poultry markets. According to the latest OIE update, they are also assessing biosecurity practices and overseeing depopulation efforts at the affected farms.

Officials at OIE said that in some parts of Mexico, large populations of backyard poultry, live poultry markets, and commercial farms exist within close proximity, making inspection and control more difficult during times of disease outbreak.

Producers cautious

Ficken said U.S. poultry producers, especially those in Texas, are always cautious about the potential for disease introduction from indirect contact with Mexican poultry.

“The level of security goes up when new virus outbreaks surface,” Ficken said.

John Glisson, DVM, PhD, director of research programs for the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, said in a recent statement that "the US poultry industry would strongly agree with the idea that the disease should be dealt with quickly and that quarantine of these farms and elimination of infected flocks would be a prudent measure."

Nearly 20 million birds were destroyed in Canada in 2004 when highly pathogenic H7N3 outbreaks in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley occurred, leading to the culling of nearly 20 million birds. In addition, two related human infections were confirmed when poultry workers, both men, had been exposed to infected poultry on the farms. They were the first known H7N3 infections in humans. Both had conjunctivitis with mild flu-like symptoms and recovered without major incident. 

USDA report neutral for cotton, bearish for beans

USDA report neutral for cotton, bearish for beans

USDA released the June 29 Acreage Report and Quarterly Grain Stocks Report Friday. Both of these reports are based on conditions as of June 1.

The reports have been called neutral to bullish for corn, neutral for cotton, bearish for soybeans and mixed for wheat. That said, there were no real surprises in the USDA reports and with the reports out of the way the market will turn its focus on the weather and the weakening U.S. Dollar.

Drought in the lower half to a third of the Midwest and the Mid-South continues to intensify with no real short-term relief in sight.

European leaders agreed to use bailout funds to aid banks and that saw a surge in the Euro and a weakening U.S. Dollar with the Dollar in early trading at 81.69, down 1.32.

Corn acreage at 96.4 million acres was 440,000 acres higher than the average trade guess and at the high end of estimates and 540,000 acres higher than the March 30 intentions. This would be the highest acreage since 1937.

More importantly, harvested acreage is estimated at 88.85 million acres, a little higher abandonment number than earlier thought and less than the 89.1 million acres that USDA has been using.

All cotton acreage at 12.6 million acres was 520,000 acres lower than the March 30 intentions, but was within the range of guesses.

Soybean acreage at 76.1 million acres was 505,000 acres more than the average trade guess and 2.18 million acres higher than the March 30 estimate. It would be the third highest on record.

All wheat acreage was at the low end of expectations and at 56.017 million acres were 830,000 lower than the average trade guess and 109,000 acres higher than the March 30 intentions.

These acreage numbers are the ones at least for now that the market will be trading. Acreage changes since June 1 have occurred, most likely in abandoned acres, but will not fully come to light until a firmer number comes probably in the September USDA report. Acreage then will be based from FSA certified acres as well as surveys.

There were no major surprises in the Quarterly Grains Stocks Report as it is called neutral to bullish for corn, bearish soybeans and neutral to bearish wheat.

Corn ending stocks were reported 33.5 million bushels lower than the average trade guess. Based on this stocks data, old crop ending stocks in the July report may be adjusted downward.

Soybean stocks were 27.5 million bushels higher than the average trade guess, and above the top end of expectations. Unless exports are increased in the July USDA report, old crop ending stocks reported in July could be around 200 million bushels.

Wheat stocks ended their marketing year at 742.7 million bushels, 14.7 million bushels higher than reported in June’s USDA Supply & Demand report and 16.7 million bushels higher than the average trade guess.

The next USDA Supply and Demand report will be released on Wednesday, July 11 and will update the fundamental numbers based on the Acreage Report and Quarterly Stocks Reports.

 

 

Ag appropriations bill delayed, House farm bill markup set for July 11

The FY13 House Agriculture Appropriations bill has been delayed and has not been rescheduled.

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas (R-Okla.) announced that committee’s markup of the farm bill will be on July 11.

According to a news story in AgriPulse, Chairman Lucas said he made it very clear to leadership that he preferred not to have the agriculture appropriations bill at the same time. “As of this moment, I don’t anticipate having ag appropriations in the House at same time as the farm bill markup in the committee,” he said.

In the meantime, Lucas is focused on marking up the farm bill on July 11, and noted “we need several days to get our work done and if necessary we’ll delegate people among ourselves to the floor.”

He said he has not yet pressed House leadership on floor time for the farm bill, because he “doesn’t have a bill to press,” but when the committee completes markup in the days after July 11, “that becomes the next biggest issue for me.”

When the time comes to reconcile differences between the House version and the Senate bill, or the “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012,” S. 3240, Chairman Lucas said he’s confident the two chambers will be able to reach an agreement, using the “Super” Committee process as an example.

“Just as we achieved consensus back in September in the hurry-up, we’ll achieve consensus this time,” he said. “We’re just not at that point of hashing out the details.”

Lucas noted that regarding differences between each chamber’s legislation, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Stabenow (D-Mich.), “understands I have to do my work with the committee. When we get to conference certainly the bills will have to be melded together, but we’ve not talked about particulars.

“I understand the importance of crop revenue to her; she understands the importance of letting a safety net to Southern farmers and people in Southern Plains to me.”

Corn, Soybeans Post New Highs to Close the Week

Corn, Soybeans Post New Highs to Close the Week

The grain markets are showing great resiliency as weather concerns increase.

Farm Futures Market Analyst Arlan Suderman and John Jenkinson, the Ag Network explore the topic.

Listen to the conversation using the audio link on this page.

The July corn and soybean futures prices posted strong rallies as they moved into their delivery periods, suggesting tight old-crop stocks.

Arlan Suderman is Market Analyst for Farm Futures magazine and FarmFutures.com. He has served on the staff of Farm Progress Cos. since May 2000, providing market analysis and commentary for its family of 18 state and regional publications. His Afternoon Recap provides market analysis on this site each afternoon that the grain trade is open. Suderman also provides real-time market commentary via Twitter at twitter.com/ArlanFF101. Suderman brings a wealth of hands-on experience to the table after completing his Certified Crop Advisor status in 1997 while serving in the Kansas Extension Service.

John Jenkinson is Senior Farm Broadcaster for "The Ag Network." John grew up on an irrigated and dryland grain farm in Southwest Kansas.  With an early passion for agriculture, he was active in the FFA,4-H, and went to college to pursue agriculture.  In 1997, someone mentioned that he should look into farm broadcasting as a career, and that began a new chapter in his life and he eventually became a board member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.  The stations that John has worked at are legendary farm radio stations with deep agribusiness roots, KFEQ, KSIR, WIBW, KXXX, KMZU, and KBUF.  In April of 2008, John started "The Ag Network" with 3 affiliates in Colorado, and then added stations in Kansas and Oklahoma.  Today, "The Ag Network" is still growing, and John is hosting two live farm talk shows, as well providing 12 farm programs a day for affiliates. He also produces a daily farm television program for a statewide network in Kansas.

Corn+Soybean Digest

Coming To a Field Near You: Nitrogen Reduction Credits

Coming To a Field Near You: Nitrogen Reduction Credits

 

 

You can soon earn credits for reduced fertilizer application if you prove it reduces nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, which are a potent greenhouse gas. That could be a big "if."

N2O is 310 times more potent in trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide, according to the California nonprofit group Climate Action Reserve (CAR), which released an N-management protocol June 28. “The ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farm-applied nitrogen fertilizers by awarding verifiable credits that can be traded on related exchanges,” CAR said. The concept is similar to cap and trade carbon-trading mechanisms.

“More than two-thirds of all U.S. N2O emissions come from management of agricultural land,” CAR says, citing EPA statistics, “or 3.1% of total U.S. emissions.

“Through more efficient application of N fertilizer under this protocol, farmers can achieve reductions in GHG emissions, generate carbon offsets, earn revenues from the carbon market and provide an important commodity to a growing world population,” CAR says.

Iowa State University Agronomist Michael Castellano adds, “The ag sector accounts for less than 10% of total U.S. GHG emissions. Of the 6.3% of U.S. GHG emissions coming from agriculture, about half are from N2O. U.S. farmers are the most efficient in the world, and that is evidenced by a low contribution towards total U.S. GHG emissions.” His research specializes in N-related sustainability issues.

Since CAR’s new protocol specifically targets the Corn Belt, farmers may find themselves involved in the issue. “For far too long, the role of agriculture in climate change mitigation has been ignored, but appropriate attention to agricultural offsets is building a full head of steam,” says Debbie Reed, president of DRD Associates and executive director at Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

“The protocol (or guidelines) creates a new, voluntary revenue opportunity from supporting BMPs and wise nutrient management,” says Derik Broekhoff, vice president for policy, CAR, Los Angeles. “It doesn’t create an actual exchange, but a set of rules to quantify GHG reductions and turn those into credits.”

An exchange for trading these N2O credits does not yet exist, but is expected to materialize, he says. The value of the credits will be determined in the marketplace, and proceeds likely shared with aggregators who help farmers with technical support, he says.

Another thing that doesn’t exist yet is scientific certainty about ways to reduce N2O emissions from N fertilizer, say Castellano and University of Illinois Crop Sciences Professor Emerson Nafziger. “We typically lose 1-3% of the N fertilizer to N2O gas emissions during the growing season. There is no sure way to reduce that, at least not down toward zero,” Nafziger says.

“Measuring N2O has become a common research activity because it’s such a potent greenhouse gas. Some N2O is produced during denitrification, which is common in wet soils. So N2O emissions depend partly on the weather. That makes it difficult to say with certainty that one application method or N form is more effective than another at reducing N2O,” Nafziger says. “Applying ammonium (NH4) and slowing its conversion to NO3 can reduce dentrification, so that might be at least a start. Improving drainage can help (to reduce losses from denitrification in wet soils) as well.”

John Sawyer, Iowa State University agronomy professor, agrees with Nafziger and Castellano. "We have much to learn about the issue. Nitrous oxide from crop production is highly spatially and temporally variable, and practice effect is still quite uncertain. We don’t want to implement practices that do not have expected results, and with potential large costs. Also, many look to agriculture for solutions to air quality issues (like carbon and nitrous oxide), but in reality, agriculture often cannot provide an easy or straightforward solution. An example is carbon trading/sequestration/credits – and documenting is difficult. And agriculture may not even have the potential for substantial change in regard to nitrous oxide (overall effect, not just within agriculture)." 

Castellano, who studies the intricacies of nitrogen dynamics and potential emissions, confirms that the science of controlling N20 emissions form agricultural fields is a work in progress: "There is little to no scientific evidence for tile drainage effects on N2O.  And here is how complicated it gets: While improved drainage is likely to reduce denitrification N2O losses from the surface soil, it could possibly increase nitrate leaching. Assuming a portion of that leached nitrate is eventually transformed to N2O, it may be difficult to measure the net effect on N2O emissions.

"We see similar complexity with our cover crop work in Ames: In some years, cover crops increase N2O emissions from the soil surface in a corn-bean rotation. However, assuming cover crops  reduce nitrate leaching and thus the amount of N2O that is produced from that leached nitrate downstream, cover crops could very well reduce total N2O losses from the ‘system’.  Just because we see increased N2O emissions from the soil surface, I would not say that cover crops increase N2O loss from the system.

"Tillage is another example.  Evidence suggests no-till increases N2O emissions in the short term, but reduces N2O emissions in the long term. This effect is further modulated by climate and soil properties such as texture."

The CAR N-management protocol calls for reducing N application rates on corn fields without reducing crop yields, by improving the efficiency with which N is applied so that crop yields are not affected, CAR’s Broekhoff says.

“Examples are listed below, as well as practices listed in NRCS Conservation Practice Standard (CPS) 590, variable-rate application technology and yield monitors, and adaptive management tools (such as corn stalk nitrate tests, pre-plant or pre-sidedress soil nitrate tests, field-composite soil tests and replicated strip trials).” 

 

Nitrogen management

CAR Table of Potential Management Practices for Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency

Use of Nitrification and Urease Inhibitors

Use of Nitrification Inhibitors (only)

Switch from anhydrous to urea

Switch from Fall to Spring Application

Change to Slow-Release Fertilizer

Change to Fertigation

Apply N Closer to Roots

Add N Scavenging Cover Crops

 

The newly announced CAR N-management protocol is technical enough to likely require help from an aggregator to interpret and implement on the farm, CAR’s Broekhoff says. N2O aggregators are yet to form, but they would conceptually resemble earlier carbon-credit aggregators, which included several farm organizations and commodity groups.

N2O-reduction credits would need to be independently verified before credit is granted for reducing qualifying N fertilizer applications, which in turn could earn N2O-reduction credits.

The first version of CAR's N-management protocol applies to corn crops in 12 Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. “However, the N-management protocol is designed to accommodate additional crop systems, geographic regions, and agricultural management practices as data and analysis warrant their inclusion,” Broekhoff says.

“There is a market for these credits: emitters looking to voluntarily reduce their emissions by purchasing to meet their own voluntary climate change mitigation goals. There is also the prospect that these credits could be sold into next year’s California cap and trade market.”

Regulated companies in California, like power plants and factories, may be required to reduce their emissions, and “they could meet their obligations by counting these farm-generated credits against their emissions,” Broekhoff says.

The California Air Resources Board has adopted CAR’s air resources standards for its compliance program and has expressed interest in the N-reduction protocol, he adds.

Since California is often a trendsetter, what other cap and trade mechanisms might develop in the future in agriculture?

Reducing methane emissions of California rice producers was the focus of a CAR protocol adopted last December, Broekhoff says. “Farmers here are waiting to see whether the California Air Resources Board adopts that standard before going to the trouble of registering for those credits.

“CAR is also looking to develop a soil-carbon sequestration credit for preserving carbon in soils and grasslands, avoiding the conversion of grasslands to cropland so as to enhance soil-carbon sequestration,” he adds.

“Carbon offsets are the 21st Century crop for the agricultural sector,” says Reed. “Protocols such as this are absolutely necessary to allow farmers to harvest carbon in order to achieve a successful yield of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increases revenue streams. Market incentives can reward farmers for stewardship activities, and done correctly, will ensure that the agriculture sector will play a serious and needed role in climate stabilization.”

It's time for baling season

Temperatures hit a humid, 98 degrees this week and you know what that means: it’s baling season. I don’t know why, but invariably, it’s miserably hot whenever it’s time to bale. While my daughter and I bunker down in the nice, air conditioned house during the sultry afternoons, many farmers — my father-in-law and husband included — are in the heat, cutting and baling hay.

Although the temperatures feel right, the baling season is a little early this year. The mild winter and wet, warm spring made for an early first cutting and, with continued moisture, we anticipate more cuttings throughout the summer than previous years. Our alfalfa was ready in early June and now the ditches are lush with headed-out, mature grass. Baling is hard, dangerous work; farmers earn every bale they make.

As with baling, the growing season also started earlier than normal this year. “Adequate to excessive rainfall in many areas of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa during May, along with warmer than normal temperatures, have provided optimal growing conditions for crop development,” said Kent Thiesse, farm management analyst and vice president of MinnStar Bank. “Most corn in the region will exceed ‘shoulder-high’ by July Fourth, with some corn tasseling and pollinating by that date, which is well ahead of normal, and far ahead of corn development a year ago.”

As long as we continue to get some moisture along with the high temps, this is corn-growing weather. While nothing beats staying cool on these hot summer days, it’s nice to know we’re in for a good crop.

 

 

Grain Futures Rise on Euro-Euphoria, Weather

Grain Futures Rise on Euro-Euphoria, Weather

The outside markets are sharply higher on an overnight agreement to put a band aid on Europe's problems.

Farm Futures Market Analyst Arlan Suderman and John Jenkinson, the Ag Network explore the topic.

Listen to the conversation using the audio link on this page.

USDA failed to provide anything this morning that would derail the current rally.

Arlan Suderman is Market Analyst for Farm Futures magazine and FarmFutures.com. He has served on the staff of Farm Progress Cos. since May 2000, providing market analysis and commentary for its family of 18 state and regional publications. His Afternoon Recap provides market analysis on this site each afternoon that the grain trade is open. Suderman also provides real-time market commentary via Twitter at twitter.com/ArlanFF101. Suderman brings a wealth of hands-on experience to the table after completing his Certified Crop Advisor status in 1997 while serving in the Kansas Extension Service.

John Jenkinson is Senior Farm Broadcaster for "The Ag Network." John grew up on an irrigated and dryland grain farm in Southwest Kansas.  With an early passion for agriculture, he was active in the FFA,4-H, and went to college to pursue agriculture.  In 1997, someone mentioned that he should look into farm broadcasting as a career, and that began a new chapter in his life and he eventually became a board member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.  The stations that John has worked at are legendary farm radio stations with deep agribusiness roots, KFEQ, KSIR, WIBW, KXXX, KMZU, and KBUF.  In April of 2008, John started "The Ag Network" with 3 affiliates in Colorado, and then added stations in Kansas and Oklahoma.  Today, "The Ag Network" is still growing, and John is hosting two live farm talk shows, as well providing 12 farm programs a day for affiliates. He also produces a daily farm television program for a statewide network in Kansas.

Farming Video Hits 1.5 Million Views

Peterson Brothers video

Earlier this week, three farm boys from Kansas dubbed the Peterson Farm Brothers released an ag parody of LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It" song, changing the words to "I'm Farming and I Grow It." 

The video, released Tuesday, has climbed from zero to 1.5 million hits in a matter of three days, and has been passed around social media like wildfire.

The boys even have a new Facebook page to handle all the publicity. More than 5,000 likes in, their Facebook fans are already requesting a video number two.

One fan writes, "New Hampshire loves your video. Get busy on #2!"

Another posts, "We totally want a download of that to play cranked up when we drive past everyone's fields. I'm just a beneficiary of the work farmers do, but I fully appreciate it."

Though there hasn't been any word of record deals, from the sounds of it the boys have completed their mission of promoting agriculture.

Cellulosic ethanol commercialization getting closer, but still dependent on RFS

 

The commercialization of cellulosic ethanol is drawing closer, but its success will largely hinge on whether the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) remains intact. This was the consensus of a panel of ethanol producers who have invested millions of dollars in cellulosic ethanol technology. The panelists spoke at the Fuel Ethanol Worskhop (FEW) in Minneapolis earlier this month.

 

A major strategy for these investors is to co-locate cellulosic ethanol production at existing corn ethanol sites. This enables them to capitalize on shared infrastructure (roads, rail, utilities) and operating synergies (energy trains, and nutrient and water balances), explained Doug Rivers, research & development director, ICM, Inc.

 

ICM’s cellulosic ethanol demonstration facility in St. Joseph, Mo., has been testing energy sorghum, an annual crop, and switchgrass, a perennial crop, as feedstocks. The demonstration plant uses approximately 10 tons of biomass per day to produce cellulosic ethanol. Rivers added that the company has been experimenting with AGCO baling equipment to produce 1,600-pound bales.

 

Chris Standlee, executive vice president, Abengoa Bioenergy, said his company’s pilot project in York, Neb., has been producing cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw. Abengoa Bioenergy’s six corn ethanol facilities in the U.S. produce 800 million gallons of ethanol per year.

 

Abengoa Bioenergy will apply what it learned from the pilot plant to its commercial-scale plant in Hugoton, Kan. The Kansas plant is expected to begin producing cellulosic ethanol from multiple feedstocks at the end of 2013. The company will contract for biomass within a 50-mile radius of the Hugoton facility. The facility will require approximately 390,000 dry tons of biomass annually. This is expected to provide some $17 million in revenues to area farmers, Standlee said. Area farmers will be able to supply corncobs, corn stover and cotton field residue.

 

(Earlier this year, Abengoa Bioenergy demonstrated harvesting equipment specially developed for the harvest and baling of biomass. These demonstrations included equipment developed by Power Stalk and Emerge Biomass of Kansas. Abengoa Bioenergy reported that Power Stalk has been developing equipment that will shred corn stover while leaving adequate residue on the ground. Also demonstrated was a skip row operation, which leaves alternate rows of biomass residue undisturbed. Abengoa Bioenergy also noted that Emergy Biomass demonstrated a self-propelled baler and a self-loading trailer that can pick up and load a large number of biomass bales in the field, move them to another location and unload them without assistance from other equipment.)

 

POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between POET and Royal DSM, broke ground in March on Project Liberty, a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant that is co-located with the POET Biorefining corn ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

 

The new facility is expected to begin commercial production of cellulosic ethanol by the end of 2013. It will use corncobs, leaves, husks and stalks as feedstocks.

 

Steve Hartig, vice president, Bio-based Energy, DSM, said that the company has been working with area farmers to determine how much biomass to collect in the field, as well as the storage life of the biomass. (POET-DSM has reported that it continues to establish logistics for processing approximately 770 dry tons per day of the feedstocks while the facility is under construction. Area farmers harvested some 61,000 tons of biomass for the project last fall and will continue to do so this year.)

 

The panelists pointed out that the RFS is critical to the continued development of the cellulosic ethanol industry. Abengoa Bioenergy’s Standlee told the audience that the RFS is the single largest reason his company has invested millions in developing cellulosic ethanol technology, adding that the industry needs the consistent, long-term support that the RFS provides.

 

ICM’s Rivers agreed, noting that a number of companies would not be developing cellulosic ethanol technology without consistent government policy.

 

DSM’s Hartig added, “We will run out of petroleum one day. But, there will be lots of solutions.” To help a winning technology like cellulosic ethanol get up and going, the industry needs support, he said.

 

The RFS has set as a standard 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuel (e.g., cellulosic ethanol, BTL diesel, green gasoline, etc.) by 2022, and 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuel (cellulosic biofuels and biomass-based diesel, but not corn starch ethanol) by 2022.