The Facts on Food and Fuel

The Facts on Food and Fuel
By Kristin Brekke
As published in ET Field Notes for October 2011

The facts:
- Only one part of the corn kernel- the starch- is used for ethanol production.
- The “food” part of the corn is the other one-third of the kernel, and all of this protein, fiber, and oil are passed through as a co-product called distillers grain.
- Distillers grain is a highly nutritious livestock feed for dairy and beef cattle, hogs, and poultry.

All of the nutrition in the corn remains available for the food supply, only detouring at the ethanol plant to remove the starch for fermentation into furl . The U.S. ethanol industry will produce more than 33 million metric tons of distillers grain this year.

Before criticizing ethanol for using too much corn, consider this: The volume of distillers grain produced by the U.S. ethanol industry is equivalent to the 4th largest producer of corn in the world.

Top corn-producing countries:
- United States 307.4 million metric tons
- China           166 million metric tons
- Brazil             58.9 million metric tons
- Mexico           24.3 million metric tons.

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Next: CME Group ethanol outlook report—Jan. 23, 2012

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