DAYTON, Texas ― Food and fuel from the same acre…

Certainly, with the advent of ethanol and other biofuels, it’s something that most farmers have come to accept ― whether they are growing crops are not. The seed companies have gotten on board, and so, too, the equipment companies.

At a recent field day hosted by New Holland, I was glad to hear that biomass is a priority for the people who design harvesting equipment.

“Feed and fuel in every acre ― that’s something we are talking about at New Holland,” says Abe Hughes, vice president, New Holland North America.

With the advances the seed companies are making, “we’re going to start to see corn that’s regularly 250, even up to 350 bushels per acre,” Hughes says.

That, in turn will leave lots of residue in the field.

“We’re got to figure out how to remove that residue… and then do something useful,” he says. One thing, he adds, is to gather and bale it for second-generation ethanol production, because there is still carbohydrate and mass in there that can be used.

New Holland is introducing a biomass kit for mower-conditioners that includes extra-high skid shoes for increased cut height and longer stubble when working with residues. The tines on balers can also be adapted for these applications.