As we cruise through the holiday season toward the new year, there are reasons for farmers and ethanol producers alike to be optimistic. Let’s take a look at a couple of those reasons today, along with a letter from Novozymes’ own Ryan Knight, in this week’s news roundup!

USDA boosts corn for ethanol forecast

Ethanol is driving up demand for corn in the December supply demand estimate from USDA.

The forecast for 2017-18 increases the amount of corn used to produce ethanol by 50 million bushels to 5.525 billion, based on less sorghum going to biofuel production. Corn ending stocks are lowered in turn by 50 million bushels but the impact on the season-average farm price range barely increased at $2.85 to $3.55 per bushel.

The 2017/18 corn crop is still estimated at a record 14.78 bushels with a record yield forecast of 175.4 bushels per acre. Ethanol production is also setting records this year. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production just hit a new weekly production level of 46.54 million gallons daily.

Read more at AgWired.

From the mailbag: Biofuels key to fighting climate change

Novozymes’ own Ryan Knight penned a fact-filled rebuttal to an earlier article that claimed ethanol contributes to the growing issues surrounding climate change.

Among the points Knight made was that data shows that U.S. farmers are, in fact, growing more food and fuel on less land than previous decades. And, more important, Knight cites the latest USDA report, which shows that ethanol reduces carbon emissions by 43% compared to gasoline — even including land use change assumptions.

“In truth, biofuels are one of the most powerful tools available to protect our climate, our energy security and rural jobs,” he writes.

Read the full letter at the Wisconsin State Journal.

China needs to import 1B bushels of corn to meet 2020 ethanol mandate

Earlier this year, China announced they would require ethanol blends in all fuel by 2020. This announcement gave U.S. corn producers hope that this could bump corn prices in the coming years in preparation.

“We are seeing China import corn from the United States, so things are finally starting to move there,” Naomi Blohm, senior market advisor at Stewart-Peterson, said. “They’re at 20% of gasoline used right now contains ethanol. To get it up to that 100% number, it’s going to require an additional billion bushels of corn a year.”

There are some reports coming from China that 70% of their current corn stocks aren’t usable, which will necessitate a fresh supply. Some analysts expect this demand boom to come in 2019.

Learn more at AgWeb.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Writer at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.