Corn Commentary

Corn Yields Rising, Environmental Impact Declining

If you ever get a chance to watch a presentation by Fred Below, University of Illinois, then you should do it. You’ll not only be entertained and informed but come away energized. He is passionate about his work and you will have no doubts about that when he’s done. He says his work mainly consists in figuring out how to sustainably reach a 300 bushel of corn per acre yield.

At the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference his topic was “Genetic and Agronomic Contributions to More Efficient Corn Production.” One of the messages he wanted to impart was that due to improvements in corn genetics some of the standard use factors for nitrogen are a little high. He urges producers to look very carefully at their use of fertilizer because they can find ways to save which will benefit them financially while improving environmental impact. He thinks this efficiency will continue to improve too. So even as corn yields increase the amount of fertilizer and energy input will go down. This also helps those involved in ethanol production because it shows the EPA that “We actually produce ethanol with a lot less environmental impact.”

You can download (mp3) and listen to my interview with Fred here: