Agricultural scientists from North Carolina State University will discuss various crops that may be used to produce fuel during a Biofuels Field Day Thursday, Sept. 27, in Duplin County.

The field day is from 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the university's Williamsdale Farm Agricultural Extension and Research Facility. The farm is at 7624 N.C. Highway 41 S. between Wallace and Harrells, N.C.

Faculty members in North Carolina State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are experimenting at the Williamsdale Farm with crops that may be used to produce biofuel. Presentations and demonstrations on sweet sorghum, industrial sweet potatoes and switchgrass are scheduled, as is a demonstration on biodiesel production from soybeans and canola.

The sorghum demonstration will include information on harvesting, pressing, and fermentation and distillation, while the industrial sweet potato presentation will include information on seed stock, mechanical harvesting and separation and storage. Industrial sweet potatoes are sweet potatoes developed for biofuel production.

The switchgrass presentation will focus on challenges inherent in converting a cellulosic plant such as switchgrass to fuel and production and processing. The biodiesel demonstration will focus on crushing soybeans or canola to produce biodiesel fuel.

The field day is free and open to the public.

The Williamsdale Farm is a 611-acre tract of land that was donated to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University in 2004. The farm is to be used for agricultural research and North Carolina Cooperative Extension activities.

e-mail: dave_caldwell@ncsu.edu