In our search for plants to make biofuels from, an unlikely candidate has emerged: tropical maize.
Early research results show that tropical maize, when grown in the Midwest, requires few crop inputs such as nitrogen fertilizer, chiefly because it does not produce any ears. It also is easier for farmers to integrate into their current operations than some other dedicated energy crops because it can be easily rotated with corn or soybeans, and can be planted, cultivated and harvested with the same equipment U.S. farmers already have. Finally, tropical maize stalks are believed to require less processing than corn grain, corn stover, switchgrass, Miscanthus giganteus and the scores of other plants now being studied for biofuel production. [More]We sometimes forget early corn had no ears. And when stalks are 25% sugar - who needs 'em?
Still all these ethanol-wannabees will have a tough time buying acreage the first few years.