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Serving: IN

This corn crop could be just what ethanol producers like

This corn crop could be just what ethanol producers like
Experts expect more soft starch in corn kernels this year in many cases.

Watch how grain fill happens over the next couple of weeks, both here and across the Corn Belt. It may make a difference on how heavy kernels are, and that may affect yield. If plants die early here due to disease, or if plants striving for super yields in Iowa and other western Corn Belt states run out of nitrogen, it may affect corn kernel quality.

Corn as fuel: This display highlights how corn is now used as fuel. This year's crop, if it has more soft starch, may be favored by ethanol producers.

Charles Hurburgh, an Extension biological and ag engineer at Iowa State University, says that if grain fill isn't as robust as normal, for any of the above reasons, the quality of corn kernels may be affected. He looks for a lower ratio of yellow, hard starch to softer, white starch. He also looks for less protein content than normal if these conditions play out.

"The ethanol producers will like it, but livestock producers won't like it so much," he says.

Using corn for fuel was one of the points made in the display called Amazing Maize at the Indiana State Fair. Housed in the Harvest Pavilion, it's a traveling exhibit based on the original Amazing Maize exhibit that was housed at the Indiana State Museum.

The Indiana Corn Marketing Council with help from Dow AgroSciences and Ford Motor Corporation made it possible to bring the traveling exhibit to the Indiana State Fair.

Note that the picture features a panel that introduces consumers to using corn as fuel. This concept caught fire about eight years ago, and led to the number of ethanol plants in Indiana growing from one to about 12 at one point. Most of these plants produce ethanol that can be used in fuel.

Related: Amazing Maize display captured interest at Indiana State Fair

Flex-fuel cars can use either regular gasoline, gasoline with 10% ethanol, or an E-85 blend which is 85% ethanol. The exhibit helped consumers learn how to recognize if a car was a flex-fuel car, with an engine designed to run on up to 85% ethanol.

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