Enogen Corn Good For Ethanol Plants, Good For Farmers

Those raising Enogen corn become enzyme producers for area ethanol plants.

Published on: Aug 21, 2013

Enogen trait technology is the first genetically modified output trait in corn that was established specifically to improve efficiency in the ethanol industry. The upside for producers planting Enogen corn is an average 40-cent per bushel premium when the corn is sold to a participating ethanol plant, and the ability to become an enzyme supplier to that plant. For ethanol plants, this trait enhances the efficiency of the ethanol production process, because Enogen grain contains alpha amylase enzyme in the corn, eliminating the need for the plant to use the liquid form of the enzyme.

Evan Uthof and Les Albrecht of L and E Farms at Jackson planted Enogen corn for the first time this season. Farmers planting Enogen must sign a stewardship agreement with Syngenta, agreeing to follow simple protocol.

Evan Uthof, at left, and Les Albrecht of L and E Farms near Jackson planted hybrids this year that have the Enogen trait.
Evan Uthof, at left, and Les Albrecht of L and E Farms near Jackson planted hybrids this year that have the Enogen trait.

Uthof says that he is handling his Enogen acres exactly like his other corn acres. There are no specific management requirements on Enogen acres, except buffer strips in the field borders to preserve the integrity of the grain in the field from contamination, and simple cleanout protocol of planters at planting time and combines at harvest. If the corn is to be stored, it must be stored in a separate bin from conventional grain.

With Nebraska ethanol plants like Siouxland Ethanol near Uthof's farm at Jackson experimenting with Enogen, local producers hope they will be able to gain contracts from local plants in the coming years. For now, producers are giving Enogen a try, to compare yields and to learn more about Identity Preservation protocol for Enogen.

"The biggest benefit is that Enogen replaces enzymes used in the ethanol process," says John Hamm of Vermillion, S.D., Enogen account leader for Syngenta. "Local producers become enzyme producers" by planting Enogen and contracting for delivery to local ethanol plants, he says. Enogen contracts are offered on acres, not bushels, reducing the risk to farmers.

Syngenta is also expanding the trait into more corn hybrids, with nine new varieties set for release in 2014, including two hybrids with Agrisure Artesian drought-tolerant technology.

For Uthof and Albrecht, the decision to plant Enogen corn took into consideration profitability with generous premiums, but they also considered their strong support for the ethanol industry.

You can learn more about Enogen corn by contacting Hamm at 605-659-6103. More details will be available in a future print article in Nebraska Farmer.