Ethanol Plants Turning toward Grain Sorghum
by Art Hovey (Lincoln Star Journal) …On a much brighter note, the managers of ethanol plants in Trenton and Ravenna are pushing hard to make a crop also known as milo the main ingredient in their renewable fuels recipes.
…Drought hardiness should be a big selling point for a crop that tends to outlast corn and soybeans in unirrigated settings.
But its attractiveness in ethanol circles is coming more from its December designation as an advanced biofuel by the Environmental Protection Agency — and from the financial incentives that go with that.
Ralph Scott of Trenton Agri-Products said his plant is among those that can switch from corn to grain sorghum without retrofitting or threatening its annual capacity of 50 million gallons per year.
“We’re trying to encourage it,” Scott said. “We’re trying to tell producers that, if they will grow it, we will use it.”
In fact, the southwest Nebraska plant has substituted up to 30 percent reddish-orange sorghum berries for yellow corn kernels in the past.
He would go to 100 percent, if he could, Scott said.
… Furthermore, a three-year study in the Lawrence, Neb., area determined that grain sorghum lost two inches less water to evapo-transpiration from 2009 through 2011 than corn in unirrigated fields.
“Sorghum was more economical for our particular study than corn or soybeans were,” said Jenny Rees, based at Clay Center as a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator.
Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach acknowledged that Kansas was making “quite a push with its director of agriculture and everything” toward “more water-sipping crops.” READ MORE