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The Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) ethanol plant in Galva, Iowa, has contracted approximately 65,000 acres of Enogen corn in 2013. The alpha amylase in the corn cuts purchased enzyme costs for the ethanol plant, and reduces plant energy costs.
Right after planting, “we verify every field," says Todd Axtell, the South Dakota-based Enogen account lead for Syngenta. "On site, we sample the border rows to be sure they were planted with non-Enogen corn hybrids, so that they can be replanted if necessary."
After pollination, fields are checked to estimate yields, he continues. "We want to make sure there is enough grain to meet the plant's needs, or if there are going to be more bushels than anticipated. The plant contracts to purchase 100% of the Enogen grain and pays a premium for all bushels delivered, including border rows. If the crop is short, like it was in some places last year, there is no grower penalty,” Axtell says.
"At harvest, the border acres are combined with the Enogen hybrids to blend the corn together," Bennett explains. "We cleaned out the combines in the field, and the auger was cleaned after the bins were filled. That went fine. The bins are marked with magnetic signs."
After harvest, the bins were sampled to make sure the grain met the specs.
The Enogen corn is stored on-farm and delivered on a schedule determined by the ethanol plant to maintain a predetermined percentage in the grind every day. Bennett, his brother and son all received on-farm training to help make the delivery go smoothly.
"You just need the contract number and the right form with the load. There is a three-minute test at the plant after you are weighed and probed. Along with the moisture and test weight, they check to make sure the load is 90% Enogen grain. There is a placard in the semi-tractor cab window and a sign next to the trap on the tractor-trailer," Bennett explains.
"All of my customers but one signed up for 2013," says Heeren. "They've doubled and tripled their acres. The stewardship requirements haven't bothered them." Heeren and some of his customers grew Enogen corn for production trials this spring.
"Most of my 2012 customers signed up for 2013 Enogen contracts," says Jeff Brosamle, a Galva area grower, investor in QCCP and Syngenta seed dealer. Yields on his 730 acres of Enogen hybrids "varied from 120 to 190 bu. due to challenging weather, but were similar to conventional corn hybrids."
After 200-bu. yields on his Enogen hybrid, Bennett contracted to more than double his acres in 2013. Peterson will maintain his Enogen acres similar to last year.
"We have expanded the program to approximately 65,000 trial and commercial acres this year, Axtell says. "Using Enogen hybrids in an ethanol plant is a long-term, sustainable benefit to both the growers and plant. When the grower becomes the alpha amylase supplier for an ethanol plant, the local economy captures this income. The more profits, the more sustainable ethanol is."