Atrip to Oklahoma was a very rewarding experience

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Atrip to Oklahoma was a very rewarding experience Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                              Quebec Farmers’ Advocate / June 2009 - Page 7

         The MAPAQ team of the Outaouais region is pleased to bring you the following information and we hope that it will be useful to you.

 A trip to Oklahoma was a very rewarding experience
 Marc F. Clement, agronome                   change.                                   This project that our southern            the future.                                      Environmental Renewal Canada
       Field Crop and                          Throughout the presentations,           neighbours are conducting is                    A brief summary                            (AERC) inc., the creator of sweet
   Environmental Advisor                     we observed that our American             what interests us. They are using           of the Outaouais project                       pearl millet.
 MAPAQ – Outaouais sector                    neighbours have a clear objective         sweet sorghum in the same way               using sweet pearl millet                          Putting together all of the
                                             —to increase the production and           we are using sweet pearl millet.                                                           funding necessary to conduct
  Last November, I had the                   use of renewable energy, includ-          Their research is more advanced              Work on the sweet pearl millet                                         h
                                                                                                                                                                                  this applied re s e a rc was a
opportunity to attend the third              ing ethanol. They have allocated          than ours with regard to harvest-         Outaouais began in 2004 and is                   colossal task accomplished by
annual Oklahoma BioFuels                     some very large budgets for this.         ing techniques. In fact, they have        on-going. Funding was obtained                   CREDETAO director, Bernard
Conference, accompanied by                   Their logo describes it very elo-         a re s e a rch partnership with M.        from various sources, including                  Larouche.
Christian Girard, president of               quently: 25 x ‘25, which trans-           Lee McClune of McClune                    the Centre local de développement                   The list of achievements since
the C e n t re de re c h e rche et de        lates to “by 2025, to produce             Industries to design a sap-               (CLD) of la Vallée-de-la-                        2004 is certainly impressive: an
développement technologique de               from agricultural and forestry            extracting harvester that mows            Gatineau and of Pontiac, the                     evaluation of biomass yield,
l’Outaouais (CREDETAO), along                biomass, 25 perc ent of the ener-         and crushes the stems of sweet            Conférence régionale des élus de                 sugar content and the forage
with Cyrille Néron, Director of              gy needs while continuing to              s o rghum directly in the field.          l’Outaouais and the Ministère de                 quality of pearl millet, both in
Innovation and Development for               produce food and fibre in both            This       year,    the   McClune         l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de                         h
                                                                                                                                                                                  re s e a rc plots and in the field;
La Coop Federée and Yvon                                                                                                                                                          herbicide testing complying to
Gauthier, a CREDETAO consul-                                                                                                                                                      the re q u i rements for homologa-
tant.                                                                                                                                                                             tion, testing for nitrogen and
  Oklahoma is at the heart of the                                                                                                                                                 potassium fertilizer re q u i re-
huge American             petroleum                                                                                                                                               ments; testing of various seeding
industry and is also at the                                                                                                                                                       rates, the distance between rows,
leading edge of re s e a rch for the                                                                                                                                              the effect of depth of planting on
p roduction of biofuels. Our                                                                                                                                                      the final plant population and
team’s interest in research on                                                                                                                                                    yields; tests on the harvest date
pearl millet for the production of                                                                                                                                                vs. sugar content; small-scale
ethanol from the juice or sap of a                                                                                                                                                tests on crushing for juice extrac-
forage plant led us to the discov-           quantity and quality.”                                                                                                               tion; tests on poor soil, recently
ery of this institution in Okla-                In the case of Oklahoma in                                                                                                        brought back into pro d u c t i o n
homa, which has among its                    particular, the Oklahoma State                                                                                                       following a long fallow period;
many projects concerning ener-               University (OSU), the University                                                                                                     finally, a study on the industrial
gy, a project very similar to ours           of Oklahoma (UO) and the                                                                                                             and economic characteristics of
–the production of ethanol from              Samuel             Roberts      Nobel                                                                                                this crop and the identification of
the sap of a plant, notably sweet            Foundation have united their                                                                                                         the most promising techniques
sorghum.                                     efforts to launch an ambitious                                                                                                       for success. In parallel to all this,
                                             re s e a rch project, with a budget of                                                                                               the genetic selection work is on-
           Oklahoma…                         $40 million over four years, for          Harvesting sweet sorghum sap using the McClune experimental press at the Oklahoma          going at AERC inc. in Delhi,
                                                                                       Bioenergy Center (OBC).
                                             the creation of the Oklahoma                                                                                                         Ontario.
   In the United States, the pro-            Bioenergy Center (OBC).
duction of ethanol is almost                    Much work is being done                                                                                                              The sweet pearl millet project
exclusively from grain corn.                 simultaneously,           with      the                                                                                              is unique in that it produces both
However, this production is                  involvement of private partners                                                                                                      sap and forage, while the
p resently struggling because,               and covering an array of disci-                                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                                                                                                  Oklahoma re s e a rc looks only at
among other things, a current                plines. A g reat deal of effort is                                                                                                   the value of the sap, not the for-
surplus in ethanol production                being directed towards cellulosic                                                                                                    age crop. There, the sorghum
and a decrease in the price of oil.          ethanol           production     using                                                                                               stems are left in the field or can
Several speakers at the confe-               switchgrass as its agricultural                                                                                                      be used in the production of
rence explained that there is a              raw material, an annual grass                                                                                                        ethanol through the cellulosic
resistance on the part of the oil            indigenous to the Great Plains                                                                                                       method. The production model
industry to use ethanol as a                 region. The proposed model is                                                                                                        for sweet pearl millet being stud-
blend in gasoline. In fact, some             grandiose (a gigantic ethanol                                                                                                        ied in the Outaouais re g i o n
gas stations in Oklahoma City                plant and huge production vol-                                                                                                       could be more profitable because
even put up signs saying that                umes) and could never be envis-                                                                                                      of the utilization of the forage
their gasoline contains no                   aged for Quebec in this form.                                                                                                        produced. This model is espe-
ethanol and is thus better per-                 However, small farms have                                                                                                         cially interesting for the region’s
forming. The objective of mixing             not been forgotten in this                                                                                                           beef production.
ethanol in the gasoline is to                re s e a rch either. The utilization of
reduce     greenhouse      gases.            energy through short channel              Yvon Gauthier, Christian Girard and Cyril Néron at Chickasha, Oklahoma discussing           Work remaining on sweet
However, ethanol is more expen-              distribution and even more                with a participant at the sweet sorghum sap harvesting demonstration.
                                                                                                                                                                                         pearl millet
sive to produce than gasoline. It            i m p o r t a n t —the production of
is the decision by the American              ethanol on the farm—are all               Industries laboratory prototype           l’Alimentation (MAPAQ), the                         The following work should be
government that is forcing the                                                h
                                             part of the OBC’s re s e a rc list.       was tested in the Outaouais.              Conseil pour le développement de                 included in the re s e a rch priori-
                                                                                          Energy costs for production,           l’agriculture du Québec (CDAQ),                  ties for future crop seasons:
                                                                                       transportation and processing             the Fédération des producteurs de                • C rushing techniques for juice
                                                                                       have put pre s s u re on the pro f-       bovins du Québec, from Economic                    extraction adapted for harvest-
                                                                                       itability of every type of pro d u c-     Development             Canada,          the       ing large areas;
                                                                                       tion system. Thus, some ideas,            Conseil québécois des plantes four-              • Storage and utilization of the
                                                                                       although technically feasible,            r a g è re s and finally, fro m                    forage on the farm;
                                                                                       will never go ahead. Projects that        A g r i c u l t u re and Agri-Food               • The processing of the sap into
                                                                                       depend on a huge production               Canada. The number of sponsors                     molasses and/or ethanol
                                                                                       capacity of biomass must ensure           clearly indicates the amount of                     This work will continue in the
                                                                                       that there is a reliable supply, in       effort that has been put into this               Outaouais region at a rate corre-
                                                                                       terms of both quantity and pro x-         research. I would also be remiss                 sponding to the re s e a rch funding
                                                                                       imity.                                    if I did not mention the work and                available. In the meantime, more
                                                                                          For on-farm energy pro d u c-          collaboration of Anne Vanasse, a                 farmers should become better
                                                                                       tion to be used, either on the            p rofessor at Laval University,                  acquainted with this crop for its
                                                                                       farm or in local markets, simple          Pierre Bélanger, agronome-con-                   qualities as an annual forage
                                                                                       procedures using the resources            sultant from the region and Om                   plant with a high yield of superi-
                                                                                       already present are the way of            P.       Dangi       of   A g r i c u l t u re   or quality, even on sandy soils.
An example of one of the many publicity signs seen at gas stations in Oklahoma City.