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Most Midwest producers using propane for grain drying, study finds

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Jerry Petasek refills his propane delivery truck at the Country Visions Cooperative facility in the town of Lawrence.

A study from the Propane Education & Research Council claims that Midwest farmers are using more propane to dry grain over any other energy source.

PERC conducted a survey with Midwestern corn and soybean farmers as well as fruit and vegetable growers in California earlier this year. The organization found that about 75% of Midwestern farmers are using propane for grain drying, with electric at 16%.

The study also said that propane is being used for other applications, like heating buildings and flaming weeds. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they use propane for the former, while 83 percent of those in California said they flame weeds with propane.

Three-fourths of respondents said they also use propane for in-home or around-home applications, like home and water heating, grilling and stove-top cooking. PERC says propane can also be used for irrigation and even forklifts.

PERC said in their statement that a major misconception about propane is the cost savings. Those who were surveyed who do not use propane said they would like to use it, but the costs prevented them doing so. PERC says propane is an affordable energy source, and farmers can enroll in their Propane Farm Incentive Program to get up to $5,000 to purchase new propane-powered equipment.

“The survey revealed a reoccurring theme of common cost misconceptions among producers, so many may be surprised to learn that propane equipment, because it’s so efficient, can actually lower fuel costs for nearly every application,” said Mike Newland, director of agriculture business development for PERC. “Most notably, participants in the incentive program who purchased new, efficient grain dryers reported a 50 percent reduction in fuel cost per bushel compared with previously owned propane models.”