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"Industrial Beet" to ethanol plant in ND

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http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/10856/nd-farmers-in-5-communities-learn-more-about-industrial-beets

 

Meeting locations, dates and times are:

- Jamestown – Tuesday, March 18, 1 to 3 p.m., Farmers Union headquarters

- Valley City – Tuesday, March 18, 9 to 11 a.m., Eagles Club

- Cando – Wednesday, March 19, 1 to 3 p.m., Extension Service office, Towner County

- Carrington – Wednesday, March 19, 9 to 11 a.m., Carrington Research Extension Center

- Langdon – Thursday, March 20, 1 to 3 p.m., Cavalier County Courthouse

 

 

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In my opinion, this is HUGE.  This is not a fly by night group promoting a crop that has not been fully developed, and for which the process for utilizing it is theoretical...

 

These folks have done their research and development at every level of production...  seed genetics, crop production/harvest (already established by sugar beet industry), crop storage/processing (already established by sugar beet industry), product development (ethanol side is already well established by corn/sugar ethanol industry, other products will be coming)...

 

They put the leg work in for years, and NOW they are finally ready to roll this out.

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It would be interesting to see them use this in the thumb... this would be HUGE there.

 

But you could easily have people spread some of their "food not fuel" nonsense/hatred over to sugar, seeing as how a lot of our food also contains sugar.

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these beets could not be used for human consumption sugar, well, not profitably.  To develop the sugar beet industry, over the MANY years they have continually been breeding the beets to not only increase their sugar content, but to also reduce the contents that impart off flavors to the sugar, making it match the profile of cane sugar.  When they do this, they sacrifice bulk yields.  These energy/industrial beets, the consumers of their sugars (yeast), are NOT picky critters.  Due to this, they are able to breed the beets differently.

 

These beets would be of no use in a sugar refining plant.

 

The only "food vs fuel" point would be that they are displacing food acres.  Though not 100% valid, it partially resembles an indirect point.

 

They are looking at growing these in the deep south in cotton country as an off season crop.  Since beets are very cold hardy, and compared to North Dakota, down there it "hardly gets cold"... they could be planted following the fall cotton harvest, be harvested (with equipment trucked down from up north) in the early spring... in time for a spring planting of corn/soybeans... you name it...

 

No displacement of any food crop.  Actually holding the soil, preventing erosion, preventing the runoff of fertilizer, loosening the soil...  all sorts of pluses.

 

I've mulled around the idea that you could (down south) have a facility that used beets for their spring harvest, and a mid summer-late fall sweet sorghum harvest.  One of the biggest obstacles for non-corn ethanol is the ability to store and handle the feedstock for long term till the next harvest.  If they did THIS idea, storage would be much less of an issue.  Adding in new crops into a rotation is also a good thing to prevent soil problems, and weed problems.

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