Research

Over the years, the Nebraska Corn Board has invested millions of dollars in research. Much of this research seeks to explore the vast market potential contained in a kernel of corn, while other projects look for ways to turn that potential into commercial reality.

Considerable research has also been conducted on distillers grains, which is produced by corn ethanol plants. University of Nebraska beef nutrition researchers Dr. Terry Klopfenstein and Dr. Galen Erickson are two of the nation’s leading authorities on the use of these feed products produced by ethanol plants. Feeding trials have given cattle and cow-calf producers important information about using distillers grains and corn gluten feed. The Nebraska Corn Board has contributed checkoff dollars to support their research – and produce corn co-product manuals to more widely distribute this expertise.

The Nebraska Corn Board has also helped fund University of Nebraska research on bioplastics, detergents, organic solvents and more. Other projects have attempted to develop corn genotypes with lower phosphorous contents, to study the carbon sequestration potential of irrigated corn systems and to determine the effects of plant population and nutrient management on carbon sequestration.

Nebraska Corn Board - corn genome

Diagram of the corn genome (click to enlarge)

The Nebraska Corn Board also funds National Corn Growers Association research projects intended to increase the value of corn. One example is polylactic acid (PLA). With the help of checkoff funds from states such as Nebraska, PLA has gained widespread acceptance and use. It can be found in compostable dinnerware, food containers, gift cards, clothing, food packages, carpets and more. The world’s premier PLA producer is even based in Blair, Nebraska! (For the latest information on PLA products, click here.)

Sequencing the corn genome could be the next big research breakthrough. An early draft of the corn genome was unveiled in early 2008 – and the final sequencing was publicly released in 2009. It will further unlock our ability to get at traits and create designer corn and could result in many new products coming to the marketplace.

The Nebraska Corn Board releases a request for research proposals, typically every November. If you would like more information on this or Nebraska Corn Board Research, please contact our office.