Corn growers envision a future that includes a crop of 15 billion bushels able to produce 15 billion gallons of ethanol without affecting other markets for corn National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Ken McCauley told more than 400 attendees at the "Renewable Fuels Summit 2006: Growing America's Energy Security" Tuesday.
"Corn growers are committed to bringing ethanol from the cornfield to the consumer," McCauley says. "We will have enough corn, and we can meet the president's goal of replacing more than 75% of U.S. oil imports from the Middle East well before 2025."
NCGA says the base for a 15-billion bushel corn crop is in place and can become a reality through the use of research, technology, biotechnology and improved cropping practices.
"As we see rapid improvements in ethanol production technology and we continue to research new corn utilization and production technology, we will see the supply of corn continue to meet market demands," McCauley says.
He also notes corn growers will have higher yields without increasing the acreage.
"We can easily see average yields of 178 to 187 bushels per acre within the next 10 years," McCauley says. "If corn growers produce a 15 billion bushel crop by the market years 2015 to 2016, approximately 5.5 billion bushels would be available for ethanol conversion. At a conservative conversion rate of 2.9 gallons per bushel, this would equate to nearly 16 billion gallons of ethanol, or roughly 10% of our nation's expected gasoline demand."
McCauley also says we will see even more ethanol being "squeezed" out of a bushel of corn in the years to come, adding potentially 3 gallons per bushel of ethanol to the growing market.
The current average ethanol conversion rate is 2.8 gallons of ethanol per bushel, up from 2.5 gallons per bushel several years ago.
McCauley also met with President George W. Bush at the summit. McCauley says Bush's call to action for advanced usage of renewable fuels such as ethanol was a message corn growers liked to hear. McCauley emphasized there will be plenty of corn available to fuel U.S. ethanol production.
"In speaking with the president, I again relayed NCGA's praise and commitment to reducing this country's dependence on foreign energy sources by providing corn ethanol as a major part in a multi-tiered energy solution," he says.