Higher US ethanol production from sorghum, corn yield: professor

Source: By Josh Pedrick, Platts • Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016

The higher ethanol production seen so far in 2016 has come from greater sorghum use and boosted yields from corn, said a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Department of Agriculture’s monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand estimates project the amount of corn used for ethanol production. For the current marketing year, the USDA projects 1.3% more corn will be used to produce ethanol than the 2015-16 marketing year.

Ethanol production, however, is up 3.2% from last year, said agriculture and economics professor emeritus Darrel Good in a podcast released Monday. In the most recent Energy Information Administration data, output was 3.16% higher than the same week last year.

“The small increase reflects increased year-over-year use of other feedstocks, particularly sorghum,” Good said.

But the amount of sorghum being used for ethanol production is harder to find than corn. The USDA doesn’t track sorghum’s use monthly, but in the 2015-16 marketing year ethanol production consumed 137 million bushels. The previous year saw just 18 million bushels used.

But sorghum and corn volumes combined weren’t sufficient to account for the increased ethanol production last year.

“The combined use of corn and sorghum increased by 2.4% in 2015-16 and the amount of ethanol produced per bushel of corn plus sorghum increased by 0.8%,” said Good in an email Tuesday.

“Together, those increases account for the 3.2 percent increase in ethanol production.”