Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Today I went with my dad to fill up the tanker with yellow.  Yellow is a (mostly) liquid by-product of ethanol production that seems to be composed primarily of protein.  It’s technically called Wet Distiller’s Grains and this “yellow” is what is left after the distillation process has taken place.  Animals seem to love it.  My dad has seen all sorts of wild animals eating it and I myself have seen, besides the cattle and goats eating it, the barn cats lapping at it on occasion.

My dad has a tanker truck for hauling this “liquid gold” from the processors.  It isn’t pretty but then it doesn’t need to be.  Wait till you see what it’s hauling!

Anyway, we took it to the “corn processing plant” as the ethanol plants are called which is really only on the other side of town.  It’s a big, clean, industrial-looking place with lots of pipes running all around.  Really, it’s quite boring inside as I think we saw a total of 2 people the whole time we were there and the pipes don’t, you know, do anything other than be shiny and pipe-y.


So my part in the yellow getting other than helping with the big-assed hose that is used to transfer the yellow from the pipes to the truck was standing on top of the truck and watching it fill-up so that it didn’t overflow as we definitely didn’t want that kind of mess!  So this was my view for most of it:

Or, a slightly more demonic looking shot:

That’s steam coming out of the top of the truck.  The liquid yellow comes out pretty warm and quite, quite liquid.  As it cools it gets more viscus.

This is the color that it is very fresh out of the pipes.  At this point it is a little hotter than you would want to put your hand in and about the viscosity of paint.  I was really worried about dropping either my phone or my glasses in this stuff!  The way that they measure the amount that is loaded is in tons so there is a LOT of it in that tank.  Anyway, here is a picture of some freshly spilled yellow to give you an idea of thickness once it cools.

Still sort of like paint, though you can see it has already thickened a little bit.

Here’s some that had been there for a day or so:

Appetizing no?  The yellow doesn’t really smell.  If you notice it at all it simply smells like wet corn.  I know that this doesn’t really help a lot of folks who haven’t been around masses of corn in all weather, but it’s sort-of a distinctive smell to anyone who’s caught a wiff of it.  One of the problems with using a liquid as a feed source for animals is that it tends to get everywhere as it is sort of sticky.  We have to watch where we step carefully or else track it into the house.  Luckily, since I was raised on a farm, I’m pretty used to watching where I step:-)

So that was my day.  Pretty riveting no?

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