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Propane fall projectionsPropane fall projections

“Normal” propane usage expected for grain drying.

Kevin Schulz

September 15, 2023

2 Min Read
Corn being harvested
EYE ON DRY: The propane industry is monitoring this year’s corn crop and is anticipating more propane use this fall on a per-bushel basis.Farm Progress

The corn crop will soon be coming in, and some of that grain will need to be dried prior to bin storage.

Mike Newland, director of agriculture business development with the Propane Education & Research Council, says the propane industry tracks both yield projections and the outlook for moisture levels of that crop.

“We’ve got a 23-year dataset, and we’re looking at moisture as it compares to the previous year, the five-year average and that 23-year history,” he says. “What we’re counting on is a very average drying season across the Midwest. … I think we’ll see ‘normal’ usage. Last year was a light usage on propane per bushel of corn. I think we’ll be up from that on a per-bushel usage.”

Newland is confident that propane supplies will be good this fall, as only about 40% of supply is used in the U.S., with the remainder ending up in the export market.

Even with that confidence in the ample supply, Newland suggests that farmers have a conversation with their supplier — if they haven’t already — to prepare for this fall’s needs. “We want people to have that conversation when there’s no stress, no time constraints,” he says. “Talk with your local propane supplier. How many gallons you’re going to need, roughly, plus or minus. And then let them know what your plans are: When you’re going to start. But always take that first fill when you can for the grain dryer. It takes that first big rush off the system.”

PERC offers a Grain Dryer Propane Use Calculator, where producers can plug in numbers of acres, average yield and percentage points of moisture desired to crop from the grain to get an estimate of total gallons of propane needed for the fall.

Check out this video with Newland at this year’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.

About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

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