Demands on Agriculture

By: Joe Brown
By: Joe Brown

“If you took every bushel of soybeans produced in this country and converted every bushel, and I think that’s something like 3 billion bushels or so, you might be able to produce 20% of the total diesel market in this country.”

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Bio-Energy Program Manager Bob Avant says that won’t happen and that it’s very important that Texas has a viable animal agriculture industry.

“And if the price of grain gets too high, we put our friends in animal agriculture out of business, the cattle feed lots, pork, poultry, dairy operations, and so there’s going to have to be some give and take there.”

Cotton seed is the primary oil seed crop in Texas, and most of it is fed to dairy cows.

“It’s not processed, it does not go to a crushing plant, it isn’t made into cotton seed meal or cotton seed oil, about 60 to 65% of our whole seed goes to the dairy market.”

So can U.S. producers grow enough to satisfy demands for fuel, fiber, feed, and food?

“We don’t know yet.”

“D.O.E. is saying to meet the 2030 goal, in 2030, 30% of our fuel supply coming from bio-mass resources, that’s about 800 million tons of grain. Just to put that in context for you, that’s 110,000 trailer truckloads a day.”

Avant maintains that if U.S. farmers move into being large producers of bio mass, things are going to change.

“Switch grass has a play in the Great Plains on marginal lands, but in Texas, A&M feels that high yielding sorghums may be better because it fits into conventional rotation patterns for producers. It’s something we know how to raise, you don’t have to buy a lot of different equipment.”

Ag producers, hold on to your hats. The next several years should make for an interesting ride. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.

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