We just finished corn harvest and will start harvesting soybeans in about a week.
So, where does the grain go it leaves our farm?
In our area, corn can go to feed livestock (chickens, turkeys, hogs, and cattle), made into ethanol fuel, or sent to the Gulf of Mexico to be exported.
- Livestock feed – corn is mixed with other feedstuff into a ration and fed.
- Ethanol – Like most newer processes, processing gets more efficient as time goes on. One bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol & 17.5 lbs of distillers grain. Distillers grain is a by-product that is fed to cattle.
- Exports – One of the many things I love about agriculture is that we produce something that can be exported. Last year 13% of the corn was exported to other countries. Higher demand domestically. In many cases, the corn will be fed to livestock. As I discussed in my blog post on November 7, 2011, two of the largest populations of the world have a huge number of people moving from poverty into the middle class, and with that change, they are demanding more meat protein in their diets.
Our soybeans will either go to local processing plants, made into biodiesel, or exported. This is a neat link to “soybeans many uses”.
- Processing plants – The soybean plant is crushed to separate the oil and the soybean meal is feed to livestock which is a high protein feed. We are fortunate to have a couple soybean plants close to us, so most of our beans go direct from our farm to the processing plant.
- Biodiesel – One bushel of soybeans produces 1.5 gallons of biodiesel.
- Exports – About 45% of the soybeans are exported. A lot of the soybeans are exported to China and fed to poultry and pigs.