September 1, 2006
In the story "Biofuels forcing farm thinking outside the box," in the Aug. 4 edition of Texas Agriculture, we incorrectly stated "a bushel of soybeans can produce just 23 gallons of diesel, compared to Chinese tallow's ability to create 500 gallons of fuel for the same amount of product..."
The story should have read "an acre of soybeans can produce 29 to 32 gallons of diesel," with the inference that it would take an acre of Chinese tallow to create 500 gallons of fuel.
The Chinese Tallow angle intrigued us, so we asked David Shermock with AgriBioFuels to elaborate. Here is part of what he emailed concerning his opinion for the potential of raising Chinese Tallow under orchard conditions:
"Chinese Tallow is reported to produce approximately 500 gallons per acre of usable oil as opposed to the 29 to 32 gallon yield from soybeans in Texas. It takes a little over one bushel of soybeans to produce a gallon of oil so the oil produced will differ based on the average crop yield for the region. In the Midwest, 45 to 50 bushels per acre yields are about normal so we will see most publications listing approximately 48 gallons of oil per acre of soybean. The yield difference in Texas is therefore approximately 29 gallons per acre for soybean as opposed to 500 gallons per acre for Chinese Tallow.
"I use Chinese Tallow as an example of what thinking just a little differently can do for our U.S. fuel security and the future of agriculture in our country. I feel sure the farm community can add a crop like Chinese Tallow orchards to many areas not farmed today and take advantage of the economic benefits without even impacting the current crops. This approach would allow some time for comfort in the crop to be developed and harvesting and handling to be worked out before actual changes to existing crop schedules are considered. The resourcefulness of agribusiness in the U.S. has stepped up to many challenges over the years and found ways to harvest soybeans, cotton, pecans, fruits and hundreds of other crops, so we can be sure if they put their mind to it we can tame crops like Chinese Tallow and Jatropha for high yield production of crop oils."