AMES, Iowa --- Two finalists have been selected for the “Iowa’s Next Top Inventor” competition. The winner will be decided upon by attendees of the 2009 Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference on Feb. 28, in Ottumwa, Iowa.
The finalists are Roman DeBrower of Marengo, Iowa, and Cody Shay of Creston, Iowa.
The competition, being held by the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University and Iowa Farmer Today, with the Iowa Corn Growers Association as a sponsor, kicked off in October 2008 and sought inventions that most effectively stored, handled or dispensed wet distillers grains, a byproduct from the production of ethanol. Inventions did not have to be new; they could be modified pieces of existing equipment.
Wet distillers grains are in great supply and can help save farmers money in feed costs. They are typically cheaper than forage resources, which are declining in availability, and they are a good source of protein, energy and minerals for cattle. However, the nature of these wet distillers grains can prove challenging, as they spoil easily and have a soupy, gooey texture that makes using conventional delivery and handling systems difficult.
DeBrower’s entry involves packing chopped sorghum with wet corn gluten to effectively store the wet feed and keep it from rotting. Shay’s entry is a co-product bucket, developed by Shay because his smaller operation wasn’t appropriate for existing equipment.
“Like a lot of smaller farmers I wanted to utilize gluten or distillers in my cow’s ration,” Shay said in his contest entry. “A feed wagon is out for me as I do not have the time and equipment to service it.”
Attendees at the 2009 Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference on Feb. 28 will vote on the winner. The 38th annual conference — the largest of its kind in the state — provides producers with the opportunity to learn and share ideas that will help make the cow-calf business profitable and competitive on a long-term basis.
This year’s conference is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009, at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, Iowa. The one-day event typically draws more than 500 people and costs $10 to enter. No pre-registration is required, and all participants receive a copy of materials presented at the conference. More information about the conference and a complete brochure are available from the Iowa Beef Center Web site at www.iowabeefcenter.org .