According to NDSU Extension bioenergy and bioproducts economist David Ripplinger, ethanol prices are still holding up in the Northern Plains. “Spot prices in the Dakotas and Minnesota are higher to the point where firms may still be breaking even. That’s good news,” says Ripplinger. “Of course, the question is how these things will catch up and to what level of severity.” In the second quarter of 2020, Ripplinger is expecting a significant reduction of fuel use and exports. A loss of ethanol plants could make an impact on local corn demand. “If what we have right now lasts for four months and there’s a 20 percent decline in gasoline use and consequently, a 20 percent decline in U.S. corn ethanol consumption, that equates to a loss of about two million acres for the year. It’s not known if it will come off old crop or new crop corn. That will play into longer scenarios.”
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