As Originally Posted at PR Urgent
Ethanol, as in beer and wine, is an alcohol modified to utilize it as a fuel and making it undrinkable. Ethanol is produced by fermentation through a method similar to beer brewing of any biomass containing carbohydrates. At the present time, ethanol is derived from starches and sugars however there have been constant research to allow it to be produced from fibrous substance which consists the bulk of most plant matter - the cellulose and hemicellulose. Ethanol is widely used as a blending agent with gasoline to boost octane and at the same time reducing carbon monoxide and other toxic smog-causing emissions.
In contrast to other renewable energy resources, biomass, an organic material, can be converted directly into burnable fuels, termed as “biofuels,” to assist in meeting transportation fuel demands. The two most widely used types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel.
On the other hand, biodiesel is produced by the combination of alcohol which is usually alcohol with vegetable or animal oil/fats, or recycled cooking grease. In order to lessen harmful vehicle emissions, it can be utilized on its pure form or as an additive (normally 20%) as a renewable substitute fuel for diesel engines.
Biodiesel and ethanol are both clean, grow-your-own fuels which can be produced on-site in local villages or communities from locally available, renewable resources, for the most phase using equipment that a local workshop can make and maintain. This can make biofuels an economical option to fossil fuels and can aid in strengthening local communities both socially and economically.
Cleaner burning energy sources lessen the toxic pollutant emissions produced by burning gasoline, and it cuts down on the dumping of used oil. Another gain is that many alternative fuels can be generated, while oil is a non-renewable resource. Demand varies, and there is always the possibility of discovering new reserves. In the contrary, fact remains that the supply may well run out one day. Present estimates predict that world oil production will reach its peak some time in the next 10 to 15 years. It thus makes sense to search for new alternatives before that day arrives. In addition, a much-hyped reason is that lessening dependence on oil will, in turn, reduce dependence on unreliable foreign oil.
Biofuel is made from agricultural crops developed in the different parts of the United States and other countries as well. Increased utilization of biofuel can generate new markets for American products. A number of jobs can also be produces especially in rural communities. As a result, it can keep the money circulating all the way through the domestic economy. Moreover, it promotes American energy independence just by generating a percentage of our fuel at home.
More importantly, biofuel is capable of improving the performance of your engine. Biofuel is a “quality” fuel that cleans your fuel system, increasing octane and lessening harmful emissions, all of which help to lengthen the life of your vehicle. As an alternative to this “traditional” diesel fuel, biofuel is expected to yield significant energy security and environmental advantage to its consumers.
About Reynolds Farm Equipment
If you are looking for further John Deere information or products, visit the Reynolds Farm Equipment website.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
As Originally Posted at PR Urgent
Over the last couple of years, the module yard at Adams Gin in Leachville, Ark., has provided passersby with a quick lesson in geometry. The gin has handled three distinct shapes of cotton modules — square, representing the Case IH cotton harvester with on-board module builder, cylindrical, representing the John Deere model with the same technology, and rectangular, representing the standard stationary module builder employed by most cotton producers today.
Each system has its pros and cons regarding transport, handling, covering and feeding into the gin. But for Buddy Jones, who manages the gin, the challenge is to feed any module shape into the gin without having to slow the gin down to do it.
Most gins already have the capability to feed both the Case IH square module and the rectangular bread-loaf module, which are both topped with tarps removed by hand after the module is unloaded from the module truck.
John Deere pickers with an on-board module builder produce a cylindrical bale wrapped in plastic. While the plastic protects the cotton from contamination and moisture, it requires additional equipment at the gin to safely and efficiently remove it.
In 2007, Adams Gin began working with John Deere to insure that farmers in the area testing John Deere harvesters with on-board module builders would be able to deliver their cylindrical bales to a gin that could handle them.
“For our farmers to have access to the pickers, we had to install some type of unwrapping device,” said Jones, who started working at Adams Gin after a stint in the irrigation business. He installed over 200 center pivots on Adams Land Co. fields.
Adams Gin decided to install the Cherokee unwrapping system, in part because the designer, Roy Owens of Cherokee, had done extensive work at the facility in the past.
The system is one of two unwrapping systems currently on the market, according to Herb Willcutt, agricultural engineer at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.
The Cherokee Round-Up Module Unwrapper uses gravity to free the cotton from the plastic wrap and is operated with joysticks. “A set of spiked arms pick up the round bale off the floor. The bale is rotated so that the bale is standing on its end, then lifted above the feeder. The operator loosens the pressure around the bale until the cotton drops out onto the conveyor, leaving the plastic attached to the spikes. The plastic is not cut during the process.”
The Stover Unwrapper GIS uses a grappling device to secure the bale and cut the plastic cover away from the round bale. “A sensor inside the cover serves as a locator for indicating the proper place to cut the plastic to prevent any pieces of the plastic being pulled loose into the feeder. It is cut by something similar to a bale sampling saw, which is mounted and automated. After it’s been cut, the bale rotates and the plastic is ejected off the bale. The cotton is then dumped onto the feeder conveyor.”
When it was built in the early 1990s, Adams Land Co. gin was hailed as the biggest gin in the world, with 10 Lummus gin stands. Today, several Cherokee 174 gin stands have replaced some of the original Lummus stands. The gin also has Cherokee module feeders, conveyors and dispersal heads.
The Cherokee unwrapping system was installed in time for the 2008 ginning season. Interviewed in the middle of ginning season, Jones said he’d been pleased with the system so far. “We’re running 60 bales plus per hour, and the person running the (unwrapper) console is not in a hurry. I think the system could probably handle about 80 bales an hour without a lot of problems. But I don’t know of many gins out there that have a need to do that much.”
Jones has fed cylindrical, square and rectangular modules at the gin, but hasn’t had a year in which he’s ginned all three module shapes. He prefers to gin the round bales separately from the square and rectangular modules, but says he could switch back and forth between all shapes if he had to.
When switching from square or traditional modules to round modules, “the Cherokee system is left in the upright position and safety guards are engaged to keep the cylinders from dropping, just like you do on a dump truck. The square or rectangular modules just travel underneath it.”
Jones says he’s using three employees to run the system, “but we’re still experimenting. One man might be able to run the system. It’s simple. It’s a hydraulic pump with some valves. It’s similar to dumping a pick sack years ago. You’re pouring the cotton out.”
Jones says the operator does need to “feather” the cotton out of the wrapper. “You don’t want the cotton to come out all at once and slam your bed rollers. But the operator will try to drop some of the cotton on top of the cotton from the last module and absorb some of the shock.”
Ginning season started a little late in 2008 for Adams Gin. “But it’s gone real well,” Jones said as last year’s ginning season was winding down. “It hasn’t rained much and we haven’t had any wet cotton to amount to anything. We’re probably going to be 16,000 to 18,000 bales short of where we were last year. Last year, we ginned 136,000 bales.”
According to Jonas Noe with Cherokee, the base Cherokee unwrapping system costs about $225,000. “Installation costs will vary depending on the height of the ceiling at the module feeder bay. The Cherokee system requires at least 25 feet of clearance. On some of the bigger gins, everything will work out fine. On some of the smaller gin, we may have to raise the roof over the bay.”
Willcutt said there are several other unwrapping systems under development.
As Originally Posted to the Emporia Gazette
The tough payment-limit restrictions proposed in President Obama’s budget would cripple family farmers already suffering through the current recession. These cuts are coming during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression — at a time when net farm income is projected to decline 20 percent.
Elimination of $16 billion to the farm safety net is one cut agriculture cannot afford. These proposed cuts would strike at the economic heart of full-time farm families of every sized operation. It would also threaten the viability of hundreds of thousands producers across the country and could further undermine this country’s economy.
The administration’s main proposal is to prohibit subsidies from going to farmers with gross sales higher than $500,000. During a three-year period, the direct payments paid to these farms would be eliminated. This is much tougher than the ’08 farm bill which cut off subsidies to farmers with adjusted gross incomes above $750,000.
The president’s proposed phase out of direct payments based on sales will impact a large percentage of Kansas farms representing a large proportion of total production in the state. Using the 2007 Census of Agriculture, 6-percent of farms in Kansas have sales of more than $500,000. However, these farms represent approximately 78 percent of all farm sales in the state.
Rural communities will suffer with the proposed cuts and phase out of direct payments. These dollars flow back into local communities through debt repayment, donations to churches, local property taxes to support public schools, support of Main Street merchants to buy groceries, shoes for kids, etc.
The farm safety net helps secure America’s food supply, which is all the more vital in hard times. Now is not the time to breach a program that helps farmers feed a hungry planet. Thanks to America's farmers, food availability is one less problem to worry about in this time of uncertainty.
Kansas farmers are especially aggravated by the shifting limits on adjusted gross income to limits on gross sales. These limits do not take into account most farming costs like buying new equipment and other expenses and are not an effective gauge of a farm’s income.
Agricultural producers who are already struggling with farm-related expenses that have increased as much as 40 percent during recent years cannot shoulder additional debt. Deeper cuts in agricultural support would have drastic bottom-line consequences on farm families.
Producers are also annoyed the administration is reopening a debate they believe was just settled. These budget cuts to ag producers threaten once again to change the rules midstream on American farmers and ranchers.
“You don’t change provisions of a farm bill, implemented less than a year ago, that had the support of more than 500 nutrition, conservation and farm organizations,” says Steve Baccus, Ottawa county farmer and president of Kansas Farm Bureau. “The provisions of the ’08 farm bill have not yet been fully implemented. This law must be given time to work before more changes are considered.”
These proposed budget cuts don’t take into consideration that producers and lenders alike have already made long-term business decisions based upon the commitment made by Congress in the five-year farm bill. To fiddle with figures and projections now will only exacerbate the current credit crisis.
Family farmers are vital to Kansas and America’s rural communities as well as this nation’s economy. Most Kansas farms are family-owned and operated. While they share the commitment to deficit reduction, additional cuts to the farm safety net would not be in their best interests or their communities.
The farm safety net now in place constitutes less than one quarter of one percent of the total federal budget and only 16 percent of the total farm bill.
Attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the American farmer, rancher and rural America will do little to balance the budget, and at the same time spell the end for many of these producers.
During the first week of March, approximately 150 Farm Bureau members from across Kansas traveled to Washington, D.C. to express their strong opposition to the more than $16 billion in cuts to the farm safety net proposed in the president’s 2010 budget.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The U.S. biodiesel industry will suffer from new trade barriers that threaten to end its lucrative export business to Europe, and in Texas the measure could be devastating.
As the largest U.S. producer of the alternative fuel, Texas has a number of companies that relied heavily on selling biodiesel in Europe and now face gaping holes in their businesses that may prove difficult to fill.
In addition, the Port of Houston has been a major hub for storing, handling and shipping biodiesel overseas, and companies in those businesses also stand to lose.
“The impact on Texas is going to be pretty great,” said Dan du Plessis, marketing and supply chain manager for GreenHunter Biofuels, which operates a 105 million gallon per year biodiesel plant at the Houston Ship Channel that had been exporting more than 90 percent of its product to Europe.
Last week, the European Commission said U.S. biodiesel exporters will now have to pay additional anti-dumping tariffs of up to 29 percent, and anti-subsidy duties of up to 41 percent. The tariffs are temporary for the next six months, but the commission will decide by this summer whether to extend them for five years.
The tariffs came after complaints last year that U.S. biodiesel producers were collecting both U.S. and European subsidies and then selling huge quantities of fuel in Europe at prices that undercut domestic producers.
European officials estimated that 80 percent of U.S. biodiesel production was exported in 2008.
But the U.S. biodiesel industry says the commission doesn’t have adequate proof that its domestic industry has been harmed by U.S. competition and, therefore, cannot extend the tariffs.
Until the overall picture improves for U.S. biodiesel producers, however, some firms could be in trouble, Eurasia Group biofuels analyst Divya Reddy said in a report last week.
“Ultimately, low-cost producers will survive current market conditions in the U.S.,” she said, “while smaller, higher cost producers could find themselves driven out of business more quickly.”
Mostly made from vegetable oils in the U.S., biodiesel has been touted as a homegrown way to help reduce dependence on oil, cut tailpipe emissions and aid American farmers. To stoke demand, the U.S. government offers a $1-per-gallon tax credit to companies that blend biodiesel with petroleum diesel.
But ethanol, a gasoline additive made mostly from corn in the U.S. and also subsidized, has made deeper inroads in this nation.
Energy legislation in 2007 was supposed to require blending of 500 million gallons of biodiesel in 2009, doubling to 1 billion by 2012. But the Environmental Protection Agency still hasn’t approved the rules to put the law into practice. That delay and the new tariffs have left many domestic producers without customers here or abroad.
In 2008, U.S. plants produced just 700 million gallons, and most of that was exported.
Texas has 30 biodiesel plants with a total production capacity of 691 million gallons per year, said Jess Hewitt, president of the Biodiesel Coalition of Texas. Forty percent of that capacity is idle, including several plants in the Houston and Galveston area, he said.
“If the plant was participating in exports to the EU, then their business has declined,” he said.
Originally Posted to Biodiesel Magazine
A bill which would require all diesel fuel in Iowa to be blended with 5 percent biodiesel starting on July 1 is working its way, with some difficulty, through the state legislature. Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Dist. 4, was one of 31 senators to cosponsor the bill based on the Minnesota biodiesel mandate passed last year. (See “Minnesota mandates B20 by 2015.”)
Similar to the Minnesota mandate, SF 408 would require the use of B5 initially, but would increase the percentage to B10 in 2012 and B20 in 2015. Kibbie said the bill has received “a lot of pushback” so far from the trucking and petroleum industries as well as legislators who don’t generally support mandates. However, he vowed to continue to work to pass the bill and said the Renewable Fuels Association, as well as members of the biodiesel and ethanol industries, have been also been lobbying for the bill’s passage.
Kibbie said he believes the bill is the single most important piece of legislation for the state’s agricultural industry this year and that the passage of a biodiesel mandate is critical for the state’s biodiesel industry. “We have a lot of biodiesel plants in Iowa, some of which are not currently in operation,” he said. The bill is currently stalled in the Ways and Means Committee and is awaiting discussion at a subcommittee hearing.
Meanwhile in Arkansas, first-term Rep. Tiffany Rogers, D-Dist. 14, has also introduced a biodiesel mandate based upon the Minnesota requirement. Rogers said HB 1790 has been referred to the Joint Energy Committee and she has requested it be addressed by March 27. The bill would mandate the use of B5 beginning Jan. 1, 2010 and would, according to Rogers, create 1,500 jobs at no cost to taxpayers. “HB 1790 is good for our economy, good for our environment and a good start to establishing our independence from foreign oil,” Rogers said. “In short, it is good for all of Arkansas."
Monday, March 9, 2009
The beleaguered peanut industry is steering its message from boasts about the healthy nature of its products to a more defensive pitch: They're safe to eat.
The National Peanut Board dispatched a battery of farmers, chefs and food manufacturers to New York City this week to allay consumer fears, a publicity blitz it says was in the works long before troubles surfaced. Nine deaths in recent months are suspected from a salmonella outbreak related to peanut products linked to a single company and at least 677 people have been sickened.
"Is it safe to eat?" asked a woman, with an eye on the peanut butter containers being offered passers-by at Grand Central Terminal. "Of course it's safe," said David B. McClurg with the New York Apple Association, who offered sliced apples to dip into the peanut butter.
Roger Neitsch, a peanut farmer and chairman of the trade group, said misconceptions about the safety of peanut products have started to crimp farmer livelihoods. Farmers usually start receiving their year's peanut contracts in January, he said. "We're 60 days into the new year and there are no contracts to be had," he said. "There's certainly time between now and spring planting, but it gets more critical every day."
The industry has much to do to reverse its declining fortunes. The salmonella outbreak that federal health authorities traced to Peanut Corp. of America in early January has triggered a recall of more than 3,000 products that used the company's peanut paste, peanut meal, peanut butter and other ingredients.
Peanut Corp. sold bulk peanut butter to nursing homes and schools, and major-brand peanut butter sold at grocery stores wasn't subject to the recall. But confusion over which products were affected has hurt retail peanut-butter sales.
In the four weeks that ended on Jan. 24, sales of peanut butter in jars tumbled 11.5% from the previous four-week period and 3.8% from a year earlier. "While the year-over-year decline may seem minimal, it comes after eight consecutive periods of double-digit growth in this category," Nielsen Co. said in a recent research report.
Major corporations are spotlighting safety in their marketing. J.M. Smucker Co., maker of Jif peanut butter, has been running TV and newspaper ads seeking to reassure consumers. The Orrville, Ohio, company delayed its annual "most creative peanut butter sandwich" contest for children "because we wanted to make sure the kids who were participating in the contest were getting positive attention for the recipes they were creating," said Smucker spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher.
ConAgra Foods Inc., maker of Peter Pan peanut butter, turned to the Internet to stoke sales. It emailed the three million consumers who subscribe to its Web site for recipes and product information to assure them that Peter Pan is safe. The Omaha, Neb., company is also using ads that appear alongside online news articles about the recall and Google searches for "peanut butter recall." One Web ad urges consumers: "Be Safe & Eat Peter Pan Peanut Butter. No Salmonella & No recall from the FDA." (Below it, a law firm promotes "Lawsuits for Salmonella Illness.")
The National Peanut Board turned a hall at Grand Central Terminal into an exhibition, with mascots and tables of giveaways. "I want you to eat some more peanuts now," called out Sue Birdsong, passing around Snickers and Peanut M&Ms. Her husband heads a peanut-shelling company.
Federal health officials have their own message: The shelf life of recalled products such as crackers, cookies and nutrition bars is long. "Consumers could still have these products at their homes," said Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek.
Health officials have ordered recalls of all products made with ingredients from Peanut Corp. plants in Georgia and Texas dating to 2007.