The Propane Education & Research Council is encouraging farmers to plan ahead for harvest season and upgrade their grain dryers with new, fuel-efficient propane models with a $5,000 incentive through the 2014 Propane Farm Incentive Program.
Many farmers in the upper Midwest and Northeast faced delayed planting this spring due to cool, wet weather, ice on the Great Lakes, and cold soil temperatures due to snow cover.
"Last year, a cool, wet spring delayed planting and shortened the growing season, and the result was record-high drying needs," says Mark Leitman, PERC director of marketing and business development. "Farmers can prepare for harvest by speaking with their propane dealers this summer about their estimated energy needs. We also recommend upgrading older drying systems with new, fuel-efficient propane models."
Nearly nine out of 10 farmers dry grain using propane-powered equipment. New dryers by GSI Group and Mathews Co. offer advanced, energy-efficient designs that can save producers money and give them greater market flexibility. According to Leitman, an advanced grain drying system is a wise investment that can directly impact a farmer's ROI.
"The newest dryers from GSI Group and Mathews Co. are 30% and sometimes even up to 50% more efficient than older models. This translates to huge fuel savings for farmers and gives them even greater control over harvest and marketing decisions," Leitman adds.
Post-season survey results from PERC's 2013 Propane Farm Incentive Program revealed that farmers who upgraded grain dryers through the program reduced fuel costs by 40% per hour per bushel dried, compared with older propane-powered models. In addition, 100% of participants reported their new dryers performed better or much better than their older drying systems, and indicated they would recommend their new propane-powered grain dryer to others.
For the second year in a row, producers can earn up to $5,000 on select grain dryer models through the 2014 PERC Propane Farm Incentive Program in exchange for collecting and reporting post-harvest performance data.
Models eligible for the Propane Farm Incentive Program include the GSI X-Stream series, Mathews Co. Trilogy series, and, new in 2014, the Mathews Co. 10-foot tower dryer series. PERC co-funded technology development and testing with GSI and Mathews on each of the qualifying dryers.
Farmers can apply for the Propane Farm Incentive Program through the end of 2014. The PERC program has already awarded more than $169,000 in incentives to program participants in 23 states. For more information about the program or to see a list of eligible equipment, visit agpropane.com<http://agpropane.com/>.