“We’ve spent the last several months looking at planting reports, crop moisture tables, and weather forecasts, and the upcoming harvest is looking much more normal compared to 2019,” said Mike Newland, director of agriculture business development at the Propane Council. “Current trends show a drier season and more irrigation needed ahead of the 2020 harvest season, making it less likely that significant grain drying will occur as heating needs increase, as was the case in 2019.”
The propane supply delays that plagued much of the Midwest in 2019 occurred because of a rain-filled spring, which led to late plantings and a wetter, later-than-normal harvest. This created a short-term spike in demand due to a sudden increase in grain drying at the same time heating needs were on the rise, stressing the transportation system delivering propane.
“The good news for farmers is that none of the conditions that created problems in 2019 are expected this year,” Newland said. “The even better news is that the Propane Council has developed tools for propane suppliers and producers to help ensure everyone has enough propane on hand regardless of current or future conditions.”
The Propane Council recently launched a Grain Drying Calculator tool to help producers determine the number of propane gallons needed each season using just three simple data points. Users simply input their average expected yield to determine the number of propane gallons needed to dry crops by a specific moisture percentage. From there, PERC’s tool will calculate approximately how many gallons of propane will be needed, making it easier to fill tanks early and prepare for supply needs prior to an increase in demand.
The Propane Council has also developed a Grain Drying Demand Model tool exclusively for propane suppliers that allows them to monitor current corn moisture levels within USDA crop districts and compare those with the previous year, the five-year average and even the minimum and maximum levels from the last 20 years. The tool is intended to help propane suppliers plan well in advance with their farm customers ahead of any distribution needs.
“We’re encouraging farmers and propane suppliers to take advantage of these tools and establish a line of communication now to ensure their tanks are full and ready when needed,” said Newland.
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