Should we burn corn?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SquashNut, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    I am not looking to start a fight over this, I am just looking for a better understanding. How can we use corn for heat or bio- fuel when there was so many areas where the corn crops failed this year. Seems to me the corn should be left for food uses.
    I am more than a little confused how this country can think of useing corn for bio-fuel when so many people in the U.S. and other countries could use it for food.
    It seems to me that has to be a way to use the corn plant and still preserve the corn kernal for food.
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    The difference is the type and quality of the corn. Theres no shortage of food or corn for feeds The starches and sugars need to make bio fuels are in the kernals, not the stalks
     

  3. vallyfarm

    vallyfarm Well-Known Member

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    Different corn. You eat sweet corn. Field corn is what goes to the stove.
     
  4. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    Feild corn can feed people, pretty sure of that. What do they use to make tortillas and corn meal mush or polenta?
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are millions of bushels of field corn piled up here in MN on the ground, because we have run out of room to store it.

    There is _no_ shortage of field corn.

    We end up dumping the corn for cheap to other countries, because we make more than we can use.

    Would sure be nice to have a good steady market for the stuff! Would help farmers out to have someone use the stuff locally, in the USA! Cut down on subsidies from the govt, and so on.

    Every year, it is too dry, or too wet, or both, someplace in the USA to hurt a crop. Some of the headlines you read on this are just good salesmanship - rumor.

    End of the year, we average a good, record crop of corn. Those areas that had poorer weather are balanced out by those areas that had way better weather.

    Only every 20 years or so do we see a real, true, dip in corn production. This is quickly overcome by the reserves from the previous year, & increased planting & yield the next year.

    As corn prices rise, those buying it turn to other products to feed their animals, and the 'shortage' takes care of itself.

    Because of the size & wide area of corn production in the USA, we have a pretty darn stable supply of the stuff.

    Yup, I'm a farmer, raise the stuff.

    Corn is going to range from $1.40 to $4.75 a bu. 80% of the time it will be just below $2.00. Has been for decades, likely will be for the future.

    This year, a lot of investment firms with billions of $$$ are buying up grain stocks. NOT using the stuff, but buying it as an investment. Some pencil pushers are guessing the use of ethanol, and so on, is going to cause a shortage of corn. We are in a dry phase for the last 2 years. This combined has gotten the speculators to drive prices up. It is purely based on speculation, & I personally expect folks will be waking up in May, realize we have enough corn and a record crop is growing in the fields, and the market will crash to way below $2.00 a bu.

    Us farmers have to live with this type of up & down market for our income. Trying to outguess the weather, & the $$$$ big investors, makes things fun. :)

    Anyhow, corn is not in short supply. A lot of rumor & speculation has temporarily driven the price up a bit - which will reduce the bu of corn purchased, & increase the number of acres planted to corn. Expect to buy real cheap corn for your corn stoves next fall.........

    --->Paul
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Less than 15% of field corn goes to human consumption. Most of that is corn syrup. Very little whole corn goes to human food. Mostly it is broken down into starch, sugar, protien, and those parts go into various industrial & food products. I think more corn goes into making baby powder than whole corn goes into direct human food.....

    Close to 60% of corn goes to feed livestock, and somewhere around 20% goes to exports. That leaves very little to go to seed production, industrial use (glues & so forth), and food.

    You understand my dad got about the same price for corn 40-50 years ago, that I recieve today? It is a very stable product, and is very under-valued. If it were of value for human food, perhaps someone could pay us to produce it??? :) As it is, we farmers hope & pray for someone to buy the stuff & use it......

    Fuel use is a goddsend.

    --->Paul
     
  7. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    seems to me that no matter how much "food" that is produced, there will always be people that go to bed hungry. And, no matter how much food is produced, we could always find a way to produce more and waste less.

    personally, I am proud to burn corn to heat my home, ...for several reasons.
     
  8. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    On comment I heard, for a money guy who appeared to have a little sense, was that the whole investment theory of the ethanol based corn shortage will turn out to be a bust. There are billions of bushels exported at little to no profit. If the ethanol industry ramps up to a large scale, the corn being dumped on the world market will stay home, and nobody is going to get rich. Naturally, no matter which way this plays out, the farmer won't be the one getting rich.
    One of the specific reasons we switched to burning corn was to watch our heating dollars head down the valley to the farm store, not to a giant oil company or a utility conglomerate. My cash buys fuel to heat my house. That fuel was born and raised in the fields right outside my window. My money stays in the community. The farmer gets more for his product than the price dictated to him by some giant agri-businesss cartel. Try that with your next load of propane?
     
  9. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Squashnut, check out "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. Gives a good overview of the corn surplus in this country.
     
  10. Triffin

    Triffin Well-Known Member

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    We process the sugars and starches in corn for fuel ..
    The residue we use as livestock feed ( DDGs ) ..
    We eat the livestock ..

    There is no food vs fuel issue with grain ethanols ..

    Triff ..
     
  11. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    But the OILs???
    Actually we have plenty of grains and oilseeds dont sweat it.
    Think on this one. If we build up a huge use of food for fuel we would have to have a much larger ability to grow food.THEN if a shortage came along we would tranfer to fossil fueles and leave a bigger margin to eat. It wont work the other way around. Thus using food for fuel makes the food supply safer.
     
  12. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    If you had hungry people knocking on your door asking for ear corn to eat, I would agree. Especially if you were burning corn to heat your home. The truth is that we have an abundance of corn, and heating with it is not a problem.
    clove
     
  13. hillsidedigger

    hillsidedigger Well-Known Member

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    This year's harvest of 1,967 million tons is falling short of the estimated consumption by 73 million tons. This shortfall of nearly 4 percent is one of the largest on record.

    In six of the last seven years world grain production has fallen short of use, drawing world grain carryover stocks down to 57 days of consumption, the lowest level in 34 years. The last time they were this low wheat and rice prices doubled.

    The growth in world grain consumption since 2000 averaged roughly 31 million tons per year. Of this, close to 24 million tons were consumed as food or feed. The annual growth in grain used to produce ethanol for cars in the United States alone averaged nearly 7 million tons per year, climbing to a high of 14 million tons in 2006.

    http://www.enn.com/net.html?id=1716
     
  14. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    This is where the confusion starts, the puplic is sure getting conflicting reports.