A concrete inquiry on energy accounting came to me from a colleague a few
minutes ago. Let's see if the list can answer it.
How much energy does it take to produce each of the major feed crops (corn,
sorghum, soybeans, wheat, . . .)? We're talking a unit of measure like
gallons equivalent of diesel, embodied in fuel, fertilizer, etc. (My
colleague is willing to ignore energy embodied in the equipment.) Is there
a readily available summary of energy cost of crops?
The phenomenon of interest is the perception that when feed prices are
high, smaller calves are discounted more (larger calves discounted less)
due to a calculated cost of bringing the animal to finished weight. Under
these circumstances, a pasture producer who can market a heavier calf nets
a premium. (My colleague says the feed lots and big producers are
cognizant of this, but many small producers are not.)
Can you point us to documentation of the energy costs of crops?
Thanks! John Lozier
West Virginia University
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