Biofuels hold great potential for helping to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases in light and heavy duty applications. A new engine technology could help open even more avenues for ethanol. Linda Brekke introduces us to ClearFlame Engine Technologies in this week's Field Talk podcast. 


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Cool conditions are hampering the start of spring field work in Minnesota. Get the latest in this week's video featuring University of Minnesota researcher Jeff Vetsch.  

Farm News

April 6, 2022
H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases in Minnesota have spread and now more than 20 cases have been reported, affecting more than 1 million turkeys and chickens. 

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson says the cases are spread around the state in flocks of various sizes. Listen 

Due to multiple detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Minnesota and surrounding states, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health has issued a 31-day statewide ban on all poultry swaps and exhibitions effective April 1 through May 1. 

USDA has released its Prospective Planting report for 2022 . Minnesota farmers intend to plant 7.80 million acres of corn, which is down 600,000 acres from 2021. Producers intend to plant 8.00 million acres of soybeans in Minnesota this year. This is 350,000 acres higher than 2021. U.S. farmers intend to plant a record high 91 million acres of soybeans, up 4% from last year. Corn growers intend to plant 89.5 million acres in 2022, down 4% from last year.

American Soybean Association Economist Scott Gerlt expected farmers to plant more soybeans. Higher input costs for fertilizer and other products used on corn was a major factor in the acreage shift. 

Other than a stretch of above normal temperatures in mid-March, conditions across Minnesota have been mostly cool. The persistent cool, wet weather is keeping soils from warming. Jeff Vetsch with the Univeristy of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca says there is still widespread frost in the 14 to 20 inch depth. It will take some extended warmer temperatures and rain to get the frost out of the ground, according to Vetsch. Listen

For the third consecutive week, midweek storm systems brought rain and snow to parts of Minnesota. Portions of northwestern and north-central Minnesota picked up more than 6 inches of snow. DTN Meteorologist John Baranick says more snow could be on the way for next week. Listen
Sales of E15, a gasoline blend containing 15 percent ethanol, hit a record 814 million gallons in 2021, according to a new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association. The 2021 volume represented a 62 percent increase over the prior year and was nearly double pre-pandemic sales volumes in 2019. However, RFA notes, this success and growth trajectory are at risk unless the Biden administration moves quickly to avoid the reimposition of restrictions on summertime E15 sales.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators is urging EPA to revise its greenhouse gas modeling for biofuels based on a modeling system developed by Argonne National Labs. The group, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, argues that using Argonne’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Technologies Modell (GREET) gives a more accurate depiction of the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels like ethanol. 

American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says EPA's process needs updating because the current model woefully undervalues biofuels. He says the GREET Model is the gold standard for measuring the carbon footprint of various fuels, like corn-based ethanol. Listen

Fuel distributors and retailers are in the process of increasing the biodiesel blends in the fuel supply from the 5% B5 winter blend to the B20 summer blend, which includes 20 percent biodiesel. That shift began April 1. Minnesota Soybean's Mike Youngerberg says the key to preserving the quality of any fuel, including biodiesel blends, is to properly maintain tanks. 

The Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance is applauding the U.S. Senate for passing its version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The Act is co-sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar. The Act aims to help fix supply chain disruptions and ease shipping backlogs. Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance Executive Director Eric Wenberg says it could take six months to a year to get the bill enacted.  Listen

Farmfest is again featuring the Woman Farmer of the Year Award at the August event in Redwood County. Farmfest  Marketing Manager Nikki Jones says nominations are accepted through May 20. Applications can be submitted at Farmfest.com. Listen

Upcoming Events

April 24-26   Minnesota State FFA Convention
April 29:        MARL Program application deadline
May 20:         Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year nomination deadline

Farm Fun Fact

Minnesota State University-Mankato and the University of Minnesota men's hockey teams face off Thursday night in a semi-final match at the NCAA Frozen Four in Boston. One of Boston's nicknames is Beantown, because Colonial settlers slow cooked beans in molasses in a dish known as Boston baked beans. 
By |2022-05-08T21:21:54+00:00April 6, 2022|Field talk|0 Comments
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