Midwest corn boom could expand `Dead ...

Midwest corn boom could expand `Dead Zone' in Gulf of Mexico

There are 9 comments on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel story from Dec 17, 2007, titled Midwest corn boom could expand `Dead Zone' in Gulf of Mexico. In it, South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that:

Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn than at any time since the Depression.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

A serious suggestion

Tampa, FL

#1 Dec 17, 2007
``I think you have to try to be a good steward of the land,'' said Jerry Peckumn, who farms corn and soybeans on about 2,000 acres he owns or leases near the Iowa community of Jefferson.``But on the other hand, you can't ignore the price of corn.''

Ethanol is a losing proposition. It takes more oil to produce ethanol than it saves. The govenment subsidizes it, pushing up the price of corn, raising food prices in the supermarket and ruining the environment.

Our best way to energy independence is conservation, not the destructive and self-defeating burning of food for fuel. It's simple: next time you replace your car, choose a model that gets better mileage. There are plenty out there. Millions of Americans choosing energy efficient autos will encourage automakers to offer even more.
THINK

Pompano Beach, FL

#2 Dec 17, 2007
Bio Fuels are not enviro friendly as we are led to believe? So we destroy one ecosystem attempting to save another..this problem is not new, merely highlighted now. Runoff control is not that expensive - it's a ditch around the field where the runoff stands and is de-nutrified by plants - it may even be a good place to grow crops for the resident wildlife! It's the runoff of nitrogen enriched water that has nearly choked the life out of lakes all over the country, and we have made progress with phosphate free detergents, runoff control and sewerage treatment plants (to replace septic tanks which add to this problem also). What we need to do is encourage runoff control with credits for farmers who comply, local USDA agents could give out the compliance paperwork. We could stop this if we wanted to.

“On the Muck”

Since: Aug 07

Pahokee

#3 Dec 17, 2007
The fact that it wasn't noticed until 1985 makes me suspicious, and most people will tell you it isn't so much fertilizer leaching through the field it is the runoff carrying nutrient rich sediments and like someone else mentioned there are ways of decreasing this they just need to be encouraged.
Fishburn

Boca Raton, FL

#4 Dec 17, 2007
Ethanol will be succesful once they determine how to produce it from plant waste products instead of the actual crops themselves (i.e grass clippings, corn stalks, etc.). This is certainly feasible at some point in the near future. Whether cars run totally on ethanol or a blend with something else remains to be seen.

The oil companies right now are working on a genetically engineered bacteria that will apparently enable them to extract oil from places like Tar Sands where the oil is apparently not the right type in its natural state for extraction. You can bet if they can use a bacteria for this that it can be used for ethanol conversion from waste products.
Chris

Pompano Beach, FL

#5 Dec 17, 2007
If the first contest of the presidential season were not held in Iowa would such an incredibly stupid (both ecologically and economically) idea as corn based ethonol still be around?
Anon

Mineral, VA

#8 Dec 17, 2007
Where there are crops and run-off, there is weed killer altrazine which has been linked to fish reproductive abnormalities and an amphibian toxin. What role does it play in dead zones?
hmmm

Pompano Beach, FL

#9 Dec 17, 2007
The indians put fish in the ground to grow their corn,I also hear it takes 3/4 of a gallon of gas to make 1 gallon of corn ethenol. where is the savings? Get bush out of office and lets solve this problem.
Red Foremans boot

Boca Raton, FL

#10 Dec 17, 2007
Fake tree huggers will ruin this fine country. Anyone who buys into Ethanol nas it is now needs some education in basic chemistry. It is a lose/ lose equation, especially when using corn.One poster is right in thay you lose energy in the equation.
Sugar cane is a little better for ethanol production and makes sense in the islands as long as it does not jack up the price of rum. If ethanol is made on-site in the islands there is a savings due to transportation costs and possibly there is a net energy gain.
Remember one thing. Most cars use 125% of ethanol to go the same distance as on gas as the alcohol has so many fewer BTUs in the fuel. Do not be fooled into thinking it is a good deal. Ethanol is horrible for the environment due to the less than zero energy gain. It also is driving up the price of many types of food-molk, cereal, beef, and so on. Corn is to be eaten and not put into a fuel tank.
Make hydrogen using electrolysis and nuke power. Pure water would come out of the tailpipe of every car. Think how much fun the water board could have then...draining our tailpipes before the next storm.
Quit watching so much network news and Oprah.

“On the Muck”

Since: Aug 07

Pahokee

#11 Dec 18, 2007
Red Foremans boot wrote:
Fake tree huggers will ruin this fine country. Anyone who buys into Ethanol nas it is now needs some education in basic chemistry. It is a lose/ lose equation, especially when using corn.One poster is right in thay you lose energy in the equation.
Sugar cane is a little better for ethanol production and makes sense in the islands as long as it does not jack up the price of rum. If ethanol is made on-site in the islands there is a savings due to transportation costs and possibly there is a net energy gain.
Remember one thing. Most cars use 125% of ethanol to go the same distance as on gas as the alcohol has so many fewer BTUs in the fuel. Do not be fooled into thinking it is a good deal. Ethanol is horrible for the environment due to the less than zero energy gain. It also is driving up the price of many types of food-molk, cereal, beef, and so on. Corn is to be eaten and not put into a fuel tank.
Make hydrogen using electrolysis and nuke power. Pure water would come out of the tailpipe of every car. Think how much fun the water board could have then...draining our tailpipes before the next storm.
Quit watching so much network news and Oprah.
National Geographic reported that sugarcane to ethanol technology has a 1 to 8 efficiency rating. 1 gallon of fuel in and the equivalent of 8 gallons of fuel coming out as ethanol. However, sugar is an expensive commodity even on the world market and is worth more as sugar than it is as ethanol. Sugarcane is a lot easier on the environment than corn, but there are only 5 places in the US that can grow it, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Even if all the suited available crop land was converted to cane in these areas were converted to sugarcane it would not be enough.

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