Iowans encouraged to prepare for fall, winter propane needs

     Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on Aug. 29 encouraged ag businesses, farmers, rural residents and other Iowans that use propane to consider taking steps to ensure adequate propane supplies this fall and winter.

     “It is encouraging that propane inventories in the Midwest are within the five-year average and have steadily increased over the summer,” Northey said. “But it is important for users to be prepared. Ensuring adequate supplies on hand now can help avoid any possible unforeseen spikes in demand later this year.”

   The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports propane production at 1.85 million barrels per day as of Aug. 18. That is up from 1.7 million barrels per day a year ago.  EIA reports that U.S. propane stocks as of Aug. 18 are at 72.2 million barrels compared to 96.1 million barrels a year ago. Lower supply levels are attributed primarily to export pressures.

   IDALS’ most recent price report for the state shows the average price at $1.13 per gallon. Last year’s price at this time of year averaged $0.95 per gallon.

   Actions that farmers and other propane users can take now in order to prepare for this fall and winter include:

     • Making sure propane supplies for grain drying, livestock facilities, homes and machine sheds were full going into the fall season.

     • Take advantage of early buy/booking programs.

     • Consider expanding on-site capacity at facilities and homes.

     • Communicate early and regularly with propane suppliers.

     According to the Aug. 27 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report, 41 percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, eight days behind last year and four days behind the five-year average. The USDA Crop Production report forecasts Iowa corn production at 2.46 billion bushels, which would be the third highest yield and production on record behind 2016 and 2015, respectively. The slightly later crop maturity coupled with a forecasted high crop yield will likely mean a steady demand for propane use for grain drying throughout the fall months.

     Northey and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continue to reach out and work with a number of Iowa agriculture organizations and the Iowa Propane Gas Association. Northey encourages the IPGA to work with their members and partners to continue to prepare to meet propane demands this fall and winter.



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