Farmers encouraged to place propane orders now

Hamburg Reporter

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig urges farmers and agribusinesses to evaluate how much propane they’ll need to meet grain drying and home and livestock heating demands this fall and winter. Propane users should anticipate and suppliers should make plans to accommodate increased propane demands this fall.

“The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship works closely with the Governor’s Office, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Propane and Gas Association, and other industry stakeholders to monitor growing season conditions and potential impacts to the harvest season,” said Secretary Naig. “It’s important for farmers and rural residents to start evaluating their propane needs early and get contracts in place with their suppliers now. I also encourage farmers to take advantage of early booking discounts and top off their propane tanks before harvest begins.”

Planning Resources for Farmers

High-moisture corn must be dried before the grain can be stored in the bin to prevent grain quality issues. The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Grain Drying Economics Module helps farmers work through corn drying and marketing decisions.

The Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) has created a grain dryer propane use calculator to help crop farmers determine how much propane they may need this fall. Farmers can access the calculator at propane.com/propane-products/grain-dryers/. Enter the number of crop acres, the average anticipated yield per acre, and how much moisture may need to be removed from the crop to estimate how many gallons of propane may be needed.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Grain Quality Initiative also has resources to help agricultural decision-makers work through grain drying, storage and quality considerations.

Planning Resources for Suppliers

The National Propane Gas Association has developed an “ABCs of Supply Preparation” checklist. This tool guides propane suppliers through demand, supply, logistics, storage, and customer considerations to help decision-makers plan their fall inventories.

Suppliers can track Iowa propane demands, inventory levels and prices on the Iowa Propane Trends and Statistics website. This is a public resource that was launched in January 2020 by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Department of Transportation to increase the visibility of key metrics that impact the propane supply chain in Iowa.

Data released Aug. 25 for the week ending Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, shows U.S. propane stocks were at 68.75 million barrels or 63.7 days of supply. This shows an increased inventory of 1.988 million barrels from the previous week. The U.S. propane inventory is expected to build over the next few weeks and peak around 78 million barrels. Midwest propane supplies stand at 21.595 million barrels, down from 25.26 million barrels at this time last year.

Iowa Propane Stakeholders Group

In the fall of 2019, Iowa experienced some propane supply challenges because grain drying demands caused by the late planting season coincided with an early cold snap that increased livestock and home heating needs.

Secretary Naig and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship convened a group of propane stakeholders, including the Iowa Governor’s office, members of the Iowa Legislature, Iowa Propane Gas Association, propane suppliers, and several agricultural groups to anticipate and take action to prevent future propane supply issues.

If farmers or agribusinesses experience propane shortages, they should notify Paul Ovrom at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at 515-242-6239 or paul.ovrom@iowaagriculture.gov, or Deb Grooms at the Iowa Propane Gas Association at 515-564-1260 or dgrooms@iapropane.org.