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Shakeout Reshaping Ethanol Industry

A still-emerging ethanol industry that has already pushed many no-tillers into continuous corn — and which could eventually lead them to new biomass crops or even selling crop residue — appears to be in an early shakeout period.
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Tough No-Till Competition

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, we taught Brazilian farmers how to no-till successfully. Now, they’re kicking our butts in the worldwide export market due to lower cropping costs and a tremendous boost in no-tilled acres.
When several University of Kentucky agronomists and others headed to South America 35 years ago to show farmers there how to no-till, little did they realize that demonstrating this new technology would eventually turn Brazil into a major player in the world food market and a serious competitor for our grain exports. It’s not likely that they foresaw the eventual impact this would have on prices being paid to American farmers today.
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No-Till Expands By 7.1 Million Acres

U.S. cropped acres being no-tilled grew from 20 percent in 2002 to almost 23 percent this year.
While some growers and educators figured the U.S. no-till acreage might have decreased during the past 2 years, it instead turned in an astounding increase of 7.1 million acres. Much of the increase occurred in the Great Plains states where no-till is helping growers make more productive use of limited water.
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