Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Small grain for ethanol production in Montana.

Joyce L. Eckhoff, Charles Flynn, and Jerald Bergman. Montana State Univ, Eastern Agric Res Center, 1501 N. Central Ave, Sidney, MT 59270

Alternative energy sources are becoming more urgently needed as global energy availability is uncertain in major petroleum production areas of the world and energy demands and petroleum costs continue to increase.  Ethanol production from corn provides an alternative fuel from a renewable resource. Corn is the principal grain used for ethanol production in the United States.  Grain corn is not a major grain crop in Montana. Ethanol production using feed barley, rejected malt barley, and low-protein wheat and durum would provide a market to increase the value of these low-value crops. The objective of this project was to evaluate barley, spring wheat, winter wheat, and durum, grains widely grown in Montana, as sources for ethanol production. Commercial varieties and experimental lines of spring wheat, winter wheat, durum, and barley were grown under irrigated and dryland conditions. The small grains evaluated included malt and feed barley, hulless barley, hard red spring wheat, soft white spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, and hard white winter wheat. The small grains were evaluated for grain yield, starch content, and starch yield. Barley samples were tested as whole seed and dehulled (non-pearled and pearled).  Soft white wheat generally showed the greatest starch yield per hectare among small grains tested. Dehulling barley improved starch content but did not affect starch yield per hectare.