AgSense: Need will grow for more forage crops to meet demand for ethanol

Leonard Lauriaul

Federal expectations are to provide for 38 percent of ethanol needs from cellulosic sources, such as crop residue, wood, specialty crops, like kenaf, and traditional forage crops without interfering with projected food and fiber needs.

Crop residue is not viable because removing greater than 25 percent is detrimental to soil and water conservation.

Wood can meet short-term supplies but is not sustainable due to growth rates. Additionally, it apparently will take much longer to develop the digestion process for wood compared to grasses, which is projected to be defined within five years. Existing perennial pastures and hay production are excluded because they are needed to meet the projected food and feed requirements.

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