From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cornstalks at Sunset

A tassled and tousled cornfield



Cornstalks at sunsetThis dried-up cornfield sits across the road from our house. I don't think high-moisture corn is going to be a problem in western Kentucky this year. The corn, what there is of it, is getting a good baking right in the field.

I read that, across the nation, a good corn crop is expected. Much of the corn belt has had a good year with enough rain.

That's good, because the demand for corn-based ethanol has put a lot of pressure on the corn market. When consumers have food and energy competing for the same product, we have a dicey situation, in my humble opinion.

I also read that the high price of corn is driving up the cost of farm land in some corn-producing states. In other words, the land is perceived as a good investment by more people, and with more demand, land prices have gone up. This is good for landowners who might sell, but it makes it harder than ever for young farmers to get a start. Property taxes will also rise if the land is re-assessed at current values. Then, there are the environmental costs of marginal farmland being put to corn production. Overall, better corn prices are a mixed blessing, even for farmers.

I think we should make every effort to use kudzu for ethanol. It grows like crazy, and we have a lot of it in the South. We can't get rid of it, so we may as well use it. I'm not suggesting that we plant any kudzu, because it's too hard to eradicate. We should just make use of the rampant, unwanted vines that are already growing. It's free, except for harvesting costs.


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4 comments:

Collagemama said...

I like the kudzu fuel plan!

Genevieve said...

It sounds like a wonderful idea to me. Kudzu is definitely renewable.

Mrs. Mom said...

I've never heard of kudza before. I read the article, and I agree, it sounds like a great plan!

There are a lot of corn fields in our valley this year. I'm hoping it's sweet corn that will be showing up at the farmer's market. However, I think some of it is for the farmer's livestock. It's so expensive for them to feed their cows, they have turned some of their pastures into feed corn.

Genevieve said...

High corn prices have convinced a lot of farmers to grow corn this year. I think the question is, can we sustain high corn production year after year? Monocropping is never a good idea. The soil wears out.

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