(Washington, DC) – An important topic for almost everyone is the price of fuel, especially as diesel is at an all-time high.
Understandably, many farmers are wondering about the cost of propane and its availability this fall. Mike Newland, director of agricultural business development at the Propane Education and Research Council, says there are no indicators of a supply disruption during peak season.
“While we have seen crude oil and natural gas rise to record prices, propane has been very flat over the same period. You know, looking at the farm and the fuel consumption of our agriculture industry, I think it gives producers a great opportunity to lock in their last dollar if you will, by taking a look at the pricing tools that are at your disposal at the local propane supplier. This is an opportunity for you to lock in the energy you need for this fall. We encourage you to contact your local supplier as soon and as soon as possible. »
Newland closely watched the USDA’s mid-year acreage report, which showed that despite planting 89% of the average corn crop as of May 29, only 61% of it had emerged, or 18 % less than 2021. Newland is tracking corn moisture going forward. in the harvest season.
“And we’ll give it to the black layer, it’s just a function of how much natural drying happens in the field versus what we’ll have to do with the grain dryers. And that’s really what the industry is looking for. We have an in-house model that we’ve developed over time to track corn moisture in every USDA crop district in the Midwest and compare it to 22 years of history. So the propane industry is doing a great job of being proactive and understanding what could happen from a drying perspective. The good news is that we are prepared for it and we are communicating with our entire industry across the Midwest to make sure they are prepared locally.
If growers are forced to harvest high-moisture corn, Newland says propane suppliers are well-equipped to meet the increased demand.
“Propane is produced domestically, we have plenty of supply. We export over 50% of the propane available to us in the United States. So from a supply perspective, we track it at the point of distribution. We are within the five year range of what we typically see from our summer inventories. The only thing I would caution a bit is if you’re in an area where you think you have above normal usage, your corn is wet, or you might think you’re struggling to get the black layer , and you know you’re going to be using a lot of propane, fill those tanks early, be sure to speak with your supplier to let them know how many gallons you think you can use, because communication is key to making sure we’ I have the product in place and available for those who need it when they need it.
Additionally, Newland says propane is a versatile energy source that allows growers to use it in many ways.
“Just outside the grain drying space, we have huge opportunities. As I mentioned before, we are in a fairly advantageous space in terms of price compared to diesel and gasoline. So everything that’s going on around the farm, I think it would be a good time to explore conversion or switch to propane. We do a lot of irrigation all over the country that runs on propane, we heat almost all of the livestock buildings, if you’re not on a natural gas line we heat it with propane. So we have some pretty new things we can do with our fuel. We encourage everyone to maybe take a look at propane.com/agriculture to see the deals we can supply around the farm.
Newland says farmers should talk to their supplier this summer about their propane needs and what tools they can offer locally. Plus, you can find resources to help you start that conversation online.
“Everything about our organization and the tools that can be found on propane.com. One of the new features we have created is our Grain Drying Calculator. I encourage you to go for it, answering three simple questions, how many acres of corn you have, what your expected yields will be, how many moisture points are you looking to remove from this crop before it goes into the trash? It will give you a very quick estimate of how many gallons of propane you will need. And I think that’s great information when you go to that local supplier and really start that conversation in the right direction.
Again, growers can find more information about propane and how it can be a single-fuel solution for their operation at propane.com/agriculture.