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Despite Drought, Corn Crop Still Ahead of Last Year, NCGA Notes (8-1-06)

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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:21 PM
Original message
Despite Drought, Corn Crop Still Ahead of Last Year, NCGA Notes (8-1-06)

There is no doubt the prolonged drought is affecting the corn crop, said Bill Chase, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) chairman of the Production and Stewardship Action Team. However, it is important to note the report indicates the crop is better than last year at this time, and we produced 11.112 billion bushels of corn, the second-highest harvest ever.

Many regions are breaking 100 year old high temp records. global warming is raising the baseline here, but there is also the significant element of year to year variability too. These temps we've seen this summer will remain extraordinary for a good time to come. OF course, if we don't aggressively develop renewable fuels to reduce GHGs we can count on these kinds of temps becoming more and more common in the next 25 to 50 years.

That's why we need to email, call or write congress. Go to - they make it easy to email your Senators and Congressmen. You just type your message and they take care of the email for you. Tell them in addition to improvements in efficiency of engines, appliances and in the design and construction of buildings and residential construction - we need to aggressively invest in expansion of renewable fuels, ethanol, bio-diesel, methane from animal waste, as well as rapidly expanding wind power. We may only have 10 years to get started in a serious way to reducing GHGs. Researching future solutions is good and necessary but we have proven ways that work right now and we should be expanding them much more rapidly than we now are.

One important area of development which would really be helpled by a more concerted effort (and additional investment) is the developement of fuel cells using cheaper alloys than those of platinum. Various companies are developing fuel cells which use hydrocarbons to provide the hydrogen for the fuel cells. This approach, rather than working with free hydrogen gas, is the way fuel cells will become a practical reality. We can shorten the time to develop this technology with a serious commitment to accelerate it's development. The fuel cell is the most promising technology (using cheaper alloys in the reformers) for major reduction of fossil fuel use in automobiles. We need to move this technology along faster with a public committment to developing it.

Yes, the GOP is owned by the oil and gas industry (and anybody else with enough money) BUT if enough people start writing and emailing you can produce change. We are coming up to mid-term elections. this is a the time for the people to assert themselves and make their wants known.

IF we can wrest control of Congress from the GOP degenerates, there is a chance action will be taken on this issue. If we don't get the GOP out, - forget it.

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Cybergata Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you Native Americas from Northern Mexico...
who were the first to cultivate corn. Corn is one of those amazing crops that will grow in the worst of conditions. Just ask the Navajo who have been successfully growing it in the four corners region where there isn't much rain.

Of course the way we are going with Global Warming, we may be asking too much of the amazing plant to continue to grow in temps above 150 degrees!

P.S. we also need to thank Native Americans for potatoes and chocolate among many other foods they were the first to cultivate. Especially chocolate.
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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Didn't You Get The Memo
Corn is evil.

As I have stated before, many times, humans in the Americas were growing corn long before ADM and Cargill. An easily stored crop was a primary consideration then, and now.

The story of the last few years here in the middle of the corn belt has been a few timely rains have made the difference.

Also, I have been told the hybrids now being used have increased drought tolerance.

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Organic farming methods will help too.
Agroeconomic studies have shown that organic methods can compete well with conventional methods (crop yield and farm income) when growing conditions are near optimal.

During suboptimal conditions (heat and drought) organic beats conventional methods hands down.

(and sequesters CO2 into soil organic matter, and reduces fossil fuel inputs from fertilizers and pesticides).

Looks like the cherry pickers were wrong again...

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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. "Low Till - No Till" Farming techniques which farmers could have been more
enthusiastic about adopting (there is much more to be done in acceptance of these techniqes) really reduces evaporative losses and erosion quite a bit. Hopefully, farmers will begin to use these techniques more.

On the subject of nitrogen usage (I realize this doesn't fit the definition of organic farming but for conventional methods this does show improvement) Iowa farmers reduced their use of nitrogen fertilizer about 16% compared to farmers in neighboring corn belt states and maintained just as high or higher production as the farmers who didn't reduce nitrogen use.

This is a topic I'm not very well versed in but from what I have read there is quite a bit that can be accomplished in the area of more efficient farming techniques and use of resources.

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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
4.  How Reliable are Those USDA Ethanol Studies?

I wonder why Johniie won't dispute these finding??

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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. The one peer reviewed journal article which touches upon Pimentel and
Patzek's 'stuff' (I dare NOT call them studies) is the article published in the journal Science which summarized the results of a study by Alexander E. Farrell,1* Richard J. Plevin,1 Brian T. Turner,1,2 Andrew D. Jones,1 Michael OHare,2
Daniel M. Kammen1,2,3 (University of Calif., Berkeley)

which commented on Pimentel's and Patzek's stuff as follows:

"Two of the studies stand out from the others
because they report negative net energy values
and imply relatively high GHG emissions and
petroleum inputs (11, 12). The close evaluation
required to replicate the net energy results showed
that these two studies also stand apart from the
others by incorrectly assuming that ethanol
coproducts (materials inevitably generated when
ethanol is made, such as dried distiller grains with
solubles, corn gluten feed, and corn oil) should
not be credited with any of the input energy and
by including some input data that are old and
unrepresentative of current processes, or so
poorly documented that their quality cannot be

11. T. Patzek, Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 23, 519 (2004).
12. D. Pimentel, T. Patzek, Nat. Resour. Res. 14, 65 (2005).

I don't think I can improve on that. Patzek is the founder of the UC Oil Consortium - supported by grants by the oil industry. He formerly worked as a petroleum engineer for Shell Oil. As I have stated before, pimentel is a retiered professor of entomology. That's the study of bugs. the researchers whose works he pretends to be qualified to critique are trained in this field and have many years of experience in it. Dr. Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory, has 17 years experience in evaluating various fuels. He developed the GREET (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) model used by hundreds of researchers in the Government, industry and the academia.


It seems this doesn't automatically mean what it used to mean. Most articles published in journals today don't even get reviewed before being published. This is particularly true of the smaller less prestigious journals which are happy to get papers to publish. They serve a purpose for professors who can't get anything published in the journals which won't publish their stuff as not meeting the standards of documentation and rigorous study design. this was reported in, I believe, FAIR (I'll check on this) or some other media watchdog site.

Anyway, the argument of whether Ethanol is practical to produce is over. pimentel and patzek are just continuing there 'Jihad' against ethanol because that is what their controllers in the fossil fuel industry demand of them. Ethanol is not going to to solve the fossil fuel problem all by itself. This of course is no reason to not develop it. It will take a number of approaches and technologies. But it IS the most cost effective and quickest way we currently have available to start reducing usage of fossil fuels for transportation (for reduction of coal we need to be pushing wind power). Ethanol is available now (in about 5 years cellulosic ethanol should become commercially viable). BTW our expansion of corn based ethanol production will help shorten the time to when cellulosic ethanol will become commercially viable as an important part of that equation is getting the production up to commercial volumes of production. And haveing the infrastructure in place already when cellulosic ethanol is ready will bring it to market several years sooner.

Improvements in the technology of ethanol production are being developed. Iowa University has filed for a patent for a process using ultrasound which boosts alcohol yeild from corn by 30% - and at a savings in time and energy!. For one process innovation to produce this much of an improvement is dramatic. This advancement alone, would take the ONL estimate of 33% of fuel demand to almost 40% of fuel demand for transportation.

REgarding other technologies, ethanol used in ICE's, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study will be able to meet about one third the transportation fuel demand of the U.S. - but that is based upon using ICEs. In the next decade or so fuel-cells using hydrocarbons (or carbohydrates e.g. ethanol) to supply the hydrogen will be introduced, initially for smaller applications but then for transportation applications (Google Acta or Ballard power). This will prove to be much more practical than using free hydrogen gas. Fuel Cells are 2 to 2.5 times as efficient as ICEs. given that efficiency gain the 33% capability for ethanol with ICEs becomes 66% to 82% of the transportation fuel needs when using Fuel Cell technology. Then of course there is biodiesel and methane from animal (and human) waste.

I don't post to this site to see my words in print (I really don't need that). I just want to blow away disinformation when I can and perhaps help a few people become aware of legitimate information that is out there, although not always easily found.

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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. This is a good thing. I LOOOOVE corn in all its forms.
Corn masa and homemade tortillas and tamales, cornbread, fresh corn, popcorn, frozen corn kernals, even canned creamed corn.

I have a grain mill that will grind cornmeal out of the dried kernals, even. Too bad I can't grow corn in my back yard (won't pollinate or grow normally??) or I would be making my own cornmeal.
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